During the surge of the novel coronavirus pandemic, a Gloucester chemical manufacturer has added one more product to its conveyor belts.
Anchor Seal Inc. of 54 Great Republic Drive has begun producing hand sanitizer to help in the city's efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Known for custom formulating and manufacturing epoxies, urethanes, silicones, and sealants for commercial and industrial applications, Anchor Seal is now making accessible disinfectant products.
"We felt it was a great opportunity to utilize part of our facility to manufacture FDA-approved hand sanitizer to do our part during this challenging time," said Heather Spinney-Laidlaw, the manufacturer's controller and director of human resources.
The decision to transition part of the facility to producing hand sanitizer came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chose to temporarily allow businesses to manufacture alcohol-based sanitizers.
Spinney-Laidlaw said producing hand sanitizer made sense with the space that Anchor Seal already had.
"We have a state-of-the-art, 15,000 square feet manufacturing facility with very large mixers, dispensing machines," she said. "We just purchased some new items so that we could have dedicated machines for the sanitizers, so that it is not going to mix in with our epoxies, for example."
She added that Anchor Seal has the people, the machinery, the bottling capability, the labeling capability, and "can turn out products fairly quickly."
The business has the capability to package cases of sanitizer in containers ranging from 2 ounces to one gallon with the option of shipment to anywhere within the continental United States.
Unlike other businesses, such as distilleries, that have switched to only producing hand sanitizer during the state of emergency, Anchor Seal is considered an essential business as its products are used by medical, dental, defense, construction, hardware stores, and agricultural businesses.
The 16 employees will continue to manufacture Anchor Seal's regular line-up while producing the hand-sanitizer with separate machinery.
"It keeps our people working and it has been a tremendous boost for morale because they feel like they can help out in a time where everyone feels helpless right now," Spinney-Laidlaw said.
Prior to opening its sanitizer sales to the public, Anchor Seal offered sales to its neighbors in Blackburn Business Park and are making an effort to get the new product to local markets as walk-ins to its facilities are not allowed.
"As we are not a retail facility, and to protect our staff, we cannot accommodate drop-in visitors requesting lobby sales," president Peter Spinney wrote in a letter to Blackburn Business Park tenants.
For more information about pricing and ordering, people are encouraged to contact email@example.com.
Spinney-Laidlaw stressed that this is not a permanent arrangement, but Anchor Seal will do it for as long as it is allowed to.
"This is a great opportunity to help out," she said.
Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.