Nike designs personal protective equipment for Oregon hospitals

Nike designs personal protective equipment for Oregon hospitals

Nike has created face shields and lenses for air-purifying respirators with materials from the sportswear brand's footwear and clothing to help protect against Covid-19.

Working with health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), a public university with two hospitals in Portland, Nike designed the personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers.

The products include a face shield and a lense for a powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR), which are used to safeguard medical workers in contaminated areas.

Nike, which is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, manufactured them from materials usually used for apparel collections or sneakers to help with shortages caused by the coronavirus.

The production makes use of the brand's capabilities for custom extrusion of the polyurethane film, which was refined for the airbag in the sole of its Air shoes.

Called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), the rubbery, plastic material is used to form the veil of the face shield and the lenses of the PAPR. The latter is made in segments that are welded in order to properly fit the PAPR.

Nike's face shield is modelled on a design that OSHU was already using, and features a foam-like band that is repurposed collar padding and clothing cords to tighten the mask. The shield's three parts are designed to come together in nine stages.

The PPE design was lead by the brand's innovation teams and manufacturing groups at its Air Manufacturing Innovation (Air MI) facilities in Oregon and Missouri. The facilities are continuing to adapt to suit the production of the PPE and follow government protocol.

Nike made its first shipment of the PAPR lenses and full-face shields to OHSU on Friday 3 April. It intends to continue to distribute devices to other areas in Oregon, including hospitals and healthcare companies Providence, Legacy Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente.

"OHSU's mission is to support the health and well-being of all Oregonians, and we can't do that without adequate supplies of personal protective equipment," said OHSU president Danny Jacobs.

"Nike's generous response to the Covid-19 crisis helps to instill an added layer of confidence and support for healthcare workers, that we can safely carry out the jobs we were born to do."

The PPE forms part of a series of efforts from the sports brand to offer help amid the health crisis. Nike also created an advert to promote staying at home and social distancing with a simple message that reads: "Play inside, play for the world".

Nike follows a number in the design industry that have pivoted its manufacturing capabilities to make face shields. Architecture studio Foster + Partners has created a laser-cut face shield that can be disassembled, sanitised and reused, while MIT has developed a one-piece Covid-19 face shield.

Leading fashion brands PradaCOS and Louis Vuitton are also manufacturing surgical face masks in response to the shortage caused by Covid-19.