Unlocking the power of innovation in times of crisis

 

Side by side images of healthcare workers in protective masks, gowns and gloves and demonstrating a powered air purifying respirator

May 18, 2020 | Diego Donoso

We must continue to apply what we are learning and experiencing in the midst of this pandemic to current and future challenges.


History shows that the world’s greatest challenges require transformative solutions and new ways of thinking. What we are facing right now with COVID-19 is no exception. Communities, businesses, and governments across the world have been severely challenged with managing through this pandemic. The ability to innovate and problem-solve quickly is critical and even lifesaving at times like this.

Dow is committed to doing what is necessary to protect our employees, help our local communities, and support our first responders and healthcare workers on the front lines. We have empowered our people to explore new ways to use Dow materials and are actively collaborating across value chains to accelerate needed solutions that can help fight the pandemic.

Collaboration accelerates solutions

All companies know the challenges of developing products they typically do not make. From design to production to distribution requires multiple steps and expertise to deliver an effective end-product that is safe for consumers and society. Collaborating with others has proven to accelerate the timeline of development which is vital during a crisis like we are experiencing with COVID-19.

Take for example Dow’s recent collaboration with Whirlpool and Reynolds to develop and produce a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) for healthcare workers fighting the virus on the frontline. Each company understood the need for these important personal protective equipment (PPE) units, but none of us could deliver a solution on our own. We each brought our materials and capabilities to the project and worked together to quickly design and produce 2,000 PAPR units for donation to hospitals.

We also worked with several partners to support the development of an Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Level 2 isolation medical gown using Dow’s polyethylene resins for the plastic film covering. This collaboration has resulted in the donation of 100,000 gowns to hospitals in Texas, Louisiana and Mexico with a potential for additional gowns being made for hot spots in Latin America. It’s clear that by working together we can unlock greater opportunities and innovation to drive solutions that can make a difference during a health emergency like COVID-19.

Harnessing the power of Dow’s innovative culture

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our scientists and technical experts have been eager to utilize our materials and technology to help fight the spread of the virus. Their ability to ideate and apply our material science capabilities in new ways is inspiring.

Without disrupting existing supply and value chains, our scientists leveraged the technology and materials readily available to accelerate the development of a PPE face shield made with Dow’s plastic film in a simplified design. Our Pack Studios application center in Freeport, Texas is equipped with pilot scale capabilities that allows us to fabricate small quantities for prototyping needs. In this case, we utilized this capability to produce the plastic film for the fabrication of 100,000 shields, which were donated to hospitals in Michigan. Knowing that many more shields are needed everywhere, we released the face shield design on our website in the spirit of scaling further production.

Medical isolation gowns are the second most used PPE at healthcare facilities after face masks. To address the on-going demand for single-use isolation gowns, Team Dow designed and produced an Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Level 2 isolation gown made from all-polyethylene resins in less than four weeks and is making these available for purchase. Medical gowns provide a protective barrier for healthcare workers during basic care and standard isolation environments. More information on Dow’s medical isolation gowns and how to order is available on our website.

These creative solutions demonstrate the power of Dow’s culture of innovation and the commitment of our people to help address society’s needs. Our most valuable asset during times like this is the passion and talent of our employees to not only keep our essential manufacturing facilities operating safely, but doing what they can to help their colleagues, customers, and local communities to manage through this unprecedented time.

What have we learned?

We must continue to apply what we are learning and experiencing in this pandemic to current and future challenges. This will not be the only challenge we will face as a global community. If we focus on what we are learning and apply it in pioneering ways - imagine the possibilities! Our Dow employees are motivated to take initiative and help solve for the gaps we see with a strong collaborative spirit. Working together, we can deliver solutions, and empower innovators to pursue new ideas that could change the world for the betterment of society and the planet.


Business unusual: The case for plastics in a modern world

 

graphic with interconnected dots

Aug 03, 2020 | Jim Fitterling

Together, we – government, industry and society – are changing systems through strong commitments and bold actions.


There’s been nothing usual about 2020. And that means going forward nothing should be “business as usual.”

Across industries we have had to rethink how we do business from top to bottom, accelerating our need for further digitalization and forcing us to build more resilient supply chains.

We have made strong commitments to move towards a more equitable and inclusive world, addressing the pervasive issues of inequality and injustice.