Columbus, OH (June 30, 2020) — Benchmark Shield, a new Columbus startup, is gearing up to produce up to 15 million disposable ASTM-rated surgical masks per month by mid-summer, under the brand name EasyShield™. The masks will provide a local supply for distributers seeking to keep up with demand from hospitals and healthcare providers, manufacturers, retailers and others seeking to protect workers, customers and guests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benchmark Shield is a spinoff of Benchmark Industrial, Inc. (www.benchmarkinc.com), a Columbus-area supplier of safety, warehouse and packaging supplies. They decided to create the new company to directly manufacture medical masks in order to meet the growing demand.
Jim Reid, the President of both Benchmark Industrial and Benchmark Shield, said, “Right now, having a domestic supply of PPE for people on the front lines is critical. Surgical masks, especially ASTM-rated masks, have been difficult to procure in the high quantities that will be needed to effectively fight the pandemic. Manufacturing the masks here using U.S.-sourced materials will ensure that we are able to provide a consistent supply of high-quality ASTM-rated masks for the people who need them most.”
Benchmark Shield will begin manufacturing masks in their new Columbus manufacturing facility in July. Sister companies in New York and Texas will provide additional manufacturing capacity, which will allow them to ramp up to production of 12 to 15 million masks per month by the end of August. Benchmark Shield is in the process of selling production capacity and taking preorders now from distributers seeking bulk purchases of Level 1 and Level 2 medical masks. Masks will also be available in consumer quantities through Benchmark Industrial.
The 3-ply surgical masks are “procedure”-style face masks with ear loops; this style of mask is commonly used in medical environments as well as in a broad range of industrial and general-purpose applications. They are worn over the mouth and nose to provide protection from microorganisms and particulates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health organizations have recommended that face masks be used by all people in public areas during the pandemic. Masks help to prevent the spread of respiratory particles that can carry the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the spread of COVID-19. Some studies have shown that wearing face masks can reduce the transmission rate for the virus by as much as 75%.
EasyShield masks by Benchmark Shield will be quality controlled and ASTM-rated. ASTM International is an international organization providing voluntary technical standards for a wide variety of materials and products, including medical products. Level 1 masks provide basic barrier protection in low-risk environments, such as interacting in a retail, office or school environment or in hallways and consultation rooms in a medical environment. Level 2 masks provide additional barrier protection against aerosols, sprays and fluids.
Mr. Reid says, “We are in the business of responding to and meeting the needs of our distributers and industry partners. Right now, businesses desperately need PPE to be able to open safely for workers and customers. We are pleased to be able to be part of the solution by providing a local, reliable source of high-quality disposable surgical and face masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
About Benchmark Shield and Benchmark Industrial
Benchmark Shield is a subsidiary of Benchmark Industrial Inc. specializing in the manufacture of ASTM-rated disposable facemasks for medical, industrial and general-purpose use. The company was founded in 2020 to address the need for PPE created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Benchmark Industrial Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is a supplier of safety, packaging and warehouse essentials. They offer a broad selection of products, including the Shield™ line of hygiene, sanitizing and safety supplies, with same-day delivery in the Central Ohio area.