A Fortune 100 technology company is investing in a Fort Worth company that is building a large plant to manufacture nitrile gloves.

Rhino Health USA said that Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON) has finalized terms to invest in and take an ownership interest in the company to support its U.S. operations for nitrile gloves. Honeywell is bringing its manufacturing, supply chain and personal protective equipment technical knowledge to help Rhino Health USA accelerate its ramp up and overall production capacity, according to Rhino Health officials. The financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

“We are excited to partner with Honeywell and leverage their extensive manufacturing expertise to help us efficiently and quickly scale our operations,” said Mark Lee, chairman of Rhino Health, in a statement. “It is critical that we help diversify sourcing and expand production so that U.S. healthcare systems, the government and private sector industrial customers have better access to American-made PPE.”

Rhino Health announced plans in April 2021 to expand operations and open its largest manufacturing operation in a 400,000-square-foot plant in Fort Worth. The exam gloves are expected to be available from the new facility by the end of 2022.

According to a Research and Markets report, the global market for nitrile gloves is expected to be about $14.1 billion in 2020 and projected to reach $57.1 billion by 2026. 

“While nitrile glove manufacturers are working at their full capacity, the supply has been unable to match the demand since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020,” according to the report. “The gap is affecting a large number of end-users, including healthcare professionals and other industrial users.“

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of exam gloves was constrained as global demand exceeded production capacity because of high use by healthcare professionals, the implementation of strict hygiene protocols and government, and health system stockpiling. This collaboration between Rhino Health USA and Honeywell will help counteract ongoing and future nitrile exam glove shortage in the healthcare industry, according to Rhino Health officials.

“Honeywell’s investment in and partnership with Rhino Health USA will strengthen the U.S. supply chain for critical PPE that is keeping healthcare workers safe,” said Morgan Kurk, president of Honeywell’s PPE business, in a statement. “We look forward to working with Rhino Health USA, a leading provider of healthcare and medical solutions, to help prevent future PPE shortages.”

Honeywell, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers a portfolio of personal protective equipment for hospitals, including face shields, nitrile gloves and respiratory protection as part of its safety and productivity business sector, which reported $7.8 billion in 2021 sales. 

Rhino Health’s Fort Worth plant received some support from a U.S. government push to increase domestic production of key supplies, such as the nitrile gloves, which are primarily produced in Asia. In May 2021, the Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a $56 million contract to Rhino Health to increase domestic production of nitrile gloves to 120 million nitrile gloves per month by November 2022. 

The company’s Fort Worth plant will be in the Majestic Fort Worth South Business Park. The facility will include about 10,000 square feet for corporate office functions. It is expected to open in September and will eventually employ 800, according to the company. 

In 2019, Rhino Health began operations in Church Rock, New Mexico, in partnership with the Navajo Nation.

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Bob FrancisBusiness Editor

Robert Francis is a Fort Worth native and journalist who has extensive experience covering business and technology locally, nationally and internationally. He is also a former president of the local Society...