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New alliance supports medical manufacturing in South-Central Texas

April 21, 2020 — Southwest Research Institute announces the formation of the Medical Manufacturing Alliance of South-Central Texas. Made up of economic development, manufacturing and research organizations, MMASCT was initially launched to help meet needs for locally manufactured medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alliance is an active collaboration between the San Antonio Manufacturers Association (SAMA), Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) South-Central Region, SwRI, Fusion Success Group and Bexar County’s Economic and Community Development Department.

Alliance members began sharing resources with local manufacturers in response to social distancing orders and a spike in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential medical supplies.

“The immediate focus is to help the regional manufacturing sector to identify products and source materials so they can retool plants to meet these needs,” said Bill Rafferty, who leads the TMAC South-Central Region office based at SwRI.

The alliance is also helping local manufactures identify the health and safety standards for facemasks and other medical equipment. In cases where items are still useful but not yet approved with official agencies, the alliance is recommending labeling to alert healthcare professionals and end users.

SwRI is supporting the alliance through testing of equipment, evaluation of materials and collaborative research with several local and national universities and research institutions.

“We have already seen a number of innovations through our collaborative research efforts,” said Walter D. Downing, P.E., SwRI’s executive vice president and COO. “There is a great deal of ingenuity and capability to meet demand for medical equipment and build in some support for a local supply chain across several manufacturing sectors.”

Bexar County is connecting regional health care providers with the local manufacturing base to fulfill their critical and scarce needs.

“The Bexar County and San Antonio economic development community is inspired by the innovation we are seeing from local companies,” added David E. Marquez, executive director of the Bexar County Economic and Community Development Department. “All our local manufacturers were very anxious to join in the COVID-19 fight. The alliance is another resource to finding materials and expertise to meet the needs of this emerging supply chain. In addition, we see it as an opportunity to add greater capability for our regional economy in the long term.”

SAMA is providing a series of webinars and panel discussions to help manufacturers navigate this pandemic.

“There is a lot to keep a plant running at this time, from the health and safety of your workers and customers to meeting payroll and meeting OSHA requirements,” said Ray Chavez, SAMA president and CEO. “Through the alliance, we are helping respond to immediate needs and plan for the future.”

The Medical Manufacturing Alliance of South-Central Texas is providing updates via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MMASCT.

Learn more about SwRI’s COVID-19 response and TMAC’s manufacturing assistance at https://www.swri.org/covid19.

For more information, contact Robert Crowe+1 210 522 4630, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.