Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

August 20, 2020

A Guilford manufacturer ramps up production of innovative medical textiles

Courtesy / Duvaltex Duvaltex’s Guilford factory is ramping up production to produce millions of yards of medical textiles.

In another case of a company making a pandemic pivot, Duvaltex switched much of its production from fabric used in office furniture to producing fabric used for scrubs and uniforms used by frontline health care workers.   

The Guilford plant and other Duvaltex plants in North America produce millions of yards of high-quality Level 1 and Level 2 gowns and antimicrobial scrub textiles.

Its primary line of business had been fabric for office furniture and "cubicle curtains," dividers used in hospitals. After the pandemic started, the Guilford plant laid off more than half of its 220 employees. But with the demand for health care textiles soaring, Duvaltex shifted its production.

"We've been in the health care industry for 20 years," Rachael Davis, operations manager for Maine, told Mainebiz.

"At the beginning of pandemic, our customers were starting to furlough their employees. We saw that we needed to start preserving cash flow," Davis said. "We laid off 130 of 220 associates. We got down to bare bones, producing only what is essential."

With its background working with the health care industry, Duvaltex, which is based in Quebec City, Quebec, got a big order from the Canadian government to produce the health care fabrics. 

With a crew of employees, the Guilford plant set about retrofitting the plant, adjusting the fabric looms. 

"We had a team of 20 associates changing over the looms. There were a lot of changes, a lot of overtime," Davis said. 

The Guilford plant is one of six Duvaltex factories in the U.S. and Canada. The original Guilford of Maine woolen mill opened in 1865. It was acquired in 2016 and renamed Duvaltex. There is a related "blending" site in Newport that handles work for the Guilford plant.   

Duvaltex is one of the three largest employers in Piscataquis County. The largest, Puritan Medical Supplies, recently ramped up production of swabs used in COVID-19 test, and is based in Guilford. Both have had the challenge of finding workers, and Davis said the companies have an unwritten rule not to poach from one another. 

"It's a challenge. It's a very small community, 1,500 people. The majority of our associates have been here 25 years or more," Davis. 

Duvaltex says its textiles meet stringent quality standards and protect against transfer of microorganisms, body fluids and particulate matter. Made from durable, breathable and soft touch engineered fabrics. The textiles can be washed and reused over 100 times.  

“Our U.S. teams, based in Maine and Michigan, have been developing and manufacturing medical textiles and products for the health care industry for more than 20 years and are ready to meet the increasing demand for personal protective equipment,” said CEO Alain Duval.

Duvaltex’s engineered Level 1 and 2 reusable fabrics are woven to make medical and hospital gowns as well as laboratory and protective clothing, with and without anti-static performance capabilities.  

Courtesy / Duvaltex
Duvaltex’s engineered fabrics meet specifications for optimal protection against the transfer of microorganisms, body fluids and particulate matter.

Duvaltex has developed advanced technical fabrics designed to meet the needs of frontline health care workers. Its antimicrobial scrub fabric is used to make scrub shirts, tops, tunics, jackets, pants and uniforms. The company also offers cubicle curtain fabric for health care environments that can be seen from both sides. All Duvaltex fabrics meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American Society of Testing Materials International, American National Standards Institute and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation quality standards. 

The company also recently launched an innovative, non-medical protective face mask, making substantial investments in new 3D knitting equipment at its Grand Rapids, Mich., facility to provide it with the capacity to produce millions of the X7 mask, available through a dedicated e-commerce platform,in bulk for large businesses as well as the retail, hospitality and service sectors, or individually.  

Duvaltex is also North America’s largest office furniture textile manufacturer. 



Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF