DENVER (KDVR) – The idea was born less than a week ago, when Bob Rensink was watching YouTube videos of women sewing face masks for medical professionals using scrap fabric at home.
“And I thought, ‘Well, I know that the material that doctors use is non-woven, and we already buy that,’ so that’s where I started making prototypes and presented it to the ownership and here we are,” Rensink, manufacturing general manager for Denver Mattress Co., told FOX31.
The long-time local mattress factory has switched operations during the coronavirus crisis. Inside their quarter-million square foot warehouse in northeast Denver, they’re now manufacturing face masks for patients who need them.
It took a day or two to change the machinery and start cranking out masks. But they’re already producing a few thousand a day, and ramping up to make 10,000 per day.
“Started gearing up production (last) Thursday and Friday, and a partial day on Saturday,” Rensink said.
The masks will go to metro Denver hospitals and other medical organizations. They’re not rated to keep all pathogens out, like N-95 masks, but they’re be available for patients and others who are in desperate need.
With each mask sewn, snipped and inspected, the staff is realizing how much their effort matters.
“We had a little team huddle Saturday and they were all applauding and almost (had) tears in their eyes. Joy, thankful for the opportunity to make these, let alone the good that it’s causing,” Rensink said.
Denver Mattress Co. isn’t stopping at masks. They’re also offering to make intensive care unit beds for hospitals, if the outbreak grows to that point. Rensink says they’ve made hospital beds since their inception, with a special non-porous covering that makes them perfect for coronavirus patients.
“It doesn’t allow bodily fluids or any type of pathogens to get inside,” Rensink said.
Hopefully the scare is over soon, and workers can get back to their normal way of doing things. Until then, the machines will be working hard – and the workers, even harder – to help out any way they can.
“It’s been long hours, but it’s been really rewarding,” Rensink said.