Origin USA is making DEF Masks at its High Street facility in Farmington. Desi Sirois is seen working at her sewing machine. The masks could help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — Origin USA has stepped up and is stitching face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The DEF (for defense) Masks are being produced at the High Street facility.

Monday, March 23, Origin USA in Farmington began production of DEF Masks to help fight the war against the coronavirus. Darleen Blancato at left is seen stitching a mask at her machine. Submitted photo

Origin co-founder Amanda Roberts said, “Being in manufacturing and having access to all our human resources, raw materials and machinery, we knew there was something we could do to help people and our nation with the shortages. Our chain of supply is 100% domestic. There is no dependence on other countries. It was never a question of “can we help?”. It was where can we help? What void can we fill? How can we fill the gaps?

“It didn’t take long for an idea to spark. Pencil hit the paper, patterns were developed and production lines were executed.”

The DEF Masks, made at Origin USA in Farmington, are made from three pieces seen here. The washable, reusable masks come in four styles. Submitted photo

She said her husband, Origin USA co-founder Peter Roberts, went in over the weekend, March 21 and 22, with the idea of masks, formulated a plan, developed and designed a pattern, printed a few samples and stitched the final product together within an afternoon.

“We are using the same textile we manufacturer for our Nogi compression gear (rash guards, spats, undergear). It is a durable material, made from Origin WarpWick©. WarpWick© has antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties,” she said. “Each mask is an approximately 15-inch square.

“We have the capacity to print 750 per roll. The roll is then placed in a laser cutter which can cut a mask every 15 seconds. The components are then brought to the production line to be assembled.”

The masks have an inner slot where N-95 respirators or other materials can be inserted for added protection. The masks are washable, reusable and available in four styles.

Amanda Roberts said Origins had many unused machines in storage and were able to rearrange machines already in use.

“We started with one production line and 3 machines,” she said. “Due to such a high demand for masks, overnight we doubled our capacity and added an additional shift. We are fully capable and ready to expand production and increase machinery to meet the needs. With the additional machinery and shifts, we should be producing 1,500-2,000 masks daily.”

Amanda Roberts said Origin employs over 70 people currently.

Origin USA in Farmington is making DEF Masks to help fight COVID-19. This machine shows the fabric coming off the heat press. It is then laid out on the laser which cuts along the pattern. Submitted photo

“Everyone is dedicated to our mission and motivated to fill the gap,” she said. “It is human nature to want to help, especially in such volatile, uncertain times. People naturally come together as a way to feel a sense of fulfillment.

“Our staff and customers are no exception. We consider each other family, and our customers are an extension of our family. Our company’s motto is “WE GET TO DO THIS” and that has never been more true than today! We GET to come to work and help our country stay safe and WIN this invisible war!”

The masks sell for $11.95 with discount pricing offered when purchasing 5, 10, 50 or 100. The company also has a buy one, donate one option. Those who participate will have product shipped to them, with donated masks sent to hospitals or other organizations.

Amanda Roberts said, “Boston Children’s hospital was the first organization to reach out after following our story on Instagram. We’ve now donated to multiple local and abroad; LEO/EMS, hospitals and other front-line defense organizations.

“We have spoken to the president of Franklin Memorial Hospital to discuss their needs and our capacity.”

FMH Community Relations Director Jill Gray said FMH President Trampas Hutches had discussed manufacture of washable gowns and other items.

At Origin USA in Farmington, DEF Masks are being made to help protect against the coronavirus. Seen working in no order are Karolyn Sloma, Bill Craft, Desi Sirois and Crystal Meldrum. Submitted photo

“It’s being discussed at a higher level, at Maine Health,” she said. “It’s coming together. There are a lot of offers to see what can be done.”

Amanda Roberts said, “We will continue retooling as needed to supply the demand. Our customers are the best customers and they are willing to wait for their boots and jeans so that we can go to war against COVID-19.”

Tuesday Livermore Fire Chief Donald Castonguay said he had ordered some masks to have on his trucks for accident calls.

To order mask(s) visit https://originmaine.com/defender-def-mask/.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine CDC, said Monday that the state is not advising medical providers to use donated homemade masks and that people should be aware that homemade masks have not gone through the same safety tests as masks worn by first responders and medical providers.

 

 

 

 

 


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