Ty Hudson, textile production operator, sews on the new durable masks being manufactured at Pine Bluff Arsenal.
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Since March, Pine Bluff Arsenal’s Directorate of Chemical and Biological Defense Operations textile mission has been producing cloth face coverings in support of the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directives during the COVID-19 global pandemic response.

To date, the Arsenal has produced approximately 83,000 CFCs for personnel across the Joint Munitions Command and Army Materiel Command depots and arsenals, according to Steven Gray, chief of Chemical and Biological Production. “The design finally ended up being a basic surgical-type face covering,” said Gray, in an earlier interview. “PBA came up with the design and materials we are currently using.”

Following the success of the first CFC mission, the Arsenal partnered with ReadyOne Industries (ROI), out of El Paso, Texas, to produce the LivinguardTM durable masks. The Arsenal is in a public-private partnership with the company on the Joint Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JLIST) garment production.

Jason Fullen, project coordinator with the Arsenal’s textile production, said the visit with ReadyOne in early June was good. “We met with two of the supervisors – Martha Garcia, ROI production operation manager, Nadia Pasillas, ROI production supervisor, – and Luis Alvarez, CEO,” he said. “It was extremely beneficial to our operators to have some hands-on experience with these supervisors. There were several takeaways, especially in the area of technique. They received some quality and efficiency advice. The visit went really well.”

Fullen said the supervisors elaborated about what they saw from their perspective. “They were pleased with PBA’s approach to achieve the best we can,” he said. “They were scheduled to be here on the ground for a day and a half, and we accomplished what we needed to in just a day.”

The LivinguardTM durable mask is a Swiss design. It is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Approximately 7,500 of the masks are set to be produced as part of the partnership arrangement between Pine Bluff Arsenal and ROI.

“These masks are being produced for the Joint Munitions Command,” said Fullen. “One operator should be able to produced approximately 75 LivinguardTM masks a day. This production take a little more skill and takes about twice as long to sew as the original CFCs. Every operator we have can do it. They just need repetition.”

Fullen said the textile production line will continue to pull internally for operators for the lines. “We have made sewing machine operators out of some of our folks who weren’t initially working in textiles,” he said. “Some of the people love it here on these production lines. We are happy to have any help we can get.”