CULPEPER — Lohmann Specialty Coatings in Orange County rearranged and increased its workforce in dramatically ramping up production of adhesive products to meet a continued growing demand for COVID-19 test kits, according to a company news release this week.
A subsidiary of Lohmann Corp., founded in 1851 in Germany, the plant off U.S. 15 just south of the town of Orange is part of a global manufacturer of advanced pressure-sensitive adhesive, coating and converting technologies.
Early in the pandemic, it became clear to company leadership that COVID testing would be critical to detecting and controlling spread of the coronavirus, the release stated. So Lohmann adapted quickly to meet escalating demand for cover tapes from leading manufacturers of rapid care lateral flow devices — also known as quick tests — as COVID-19 test kits were developed and commercialized.
“Our engineering expertise lies in customizing adhesive qualities to the job at hand,” said Lohmann Corp. President Steven De Jong. “The depth and diversity of our manufacturing capabilities, which include in-house slitting and laminating in our facilities in Orange and Hebron, Kentucky, enabled us to respond rapidly to the challenge.”
Demand tripled in just a few months for backing, wicking, absorbent, conjugate materials and cover tapes. As demand skyrocketed, Lohmann increased staff by 22 people at the local plant.
The site had 106 employees last year compared with 128 currently, according to a company spokeswoman.
Lohmann Specialty Coatings in Orange is currently hiring several full-time staff in its medical production unit.
“As the economy contracted and our non-medical manufacturing cooled, we were still able to keep our personnel fully employed and avoid any layoffs,” De Jong said. “We shifted staff to fuel an all-hands-on-deck response to the needs of our medical customers.”
The company called it an “unprecedented rate of development” further facilitated by multi-level collaboration with Lohmann’s suppliers.
“Lohmann’s vertical integration with our suppliers and our customer-first culture have been critical success factors,” said De Jong. “This close collaboration, in addition to the commitment of our workforce, made it all possible. It has been truly gratifying to play our part in the fight against this virus.”
The Virginia Economic Developers Association recognized Lohmann in its Cardinal Comeback series for its swift response to the public health crisis.
The VEDA recognition stated: “Lohmann Corporation, in Orange County … has been operating at 100 percent through the pandemic by hiring new employees and continuing to produce many of the essential materials needed for COVID-19 test kits. Today, as part of our Cardinal Comeback series recognizing inspiring efforts by businesses to ‘come back after COVID-19,’ we salute Lohmann Corp.”
The medical tapes market that includes Lohmann products is forecast to witness steady expansion through 2029, according to a recent industry report.
Lohmann Corp. and Subsidiaries, a wholly owned division of the 170-year-old Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG, was founded in 1990 to support the Lohmann global expansion into the Americas, according to the company release.
Beginning in Kentucky with the converting of products imported from the parent company in Germany, to the construction of a state-of-the-art coating plant in Orange, and most recently the acquisition of die-cutting capabilities, Lohmann Corp. offers its customers a vertical solution for all their adhesive bonding needs, the company said.
Its products are used in medical, transportation, consumer electronics, alternative energy and flexographic printing sectors.