At the end of January Berry reported the prioritization of healthcare production in its Chinese facilities in response to the increased demand for coronavirus prevention. Concurrently, the company has responded to this increased demand across North America and Europe. In the U.S., Berry has shifted capacity to supply maximum output in response to increased demand for healthcare materials; these include materials for hard surface disinfectant wipes and face masks. In Europe, the company’s meltblown lines are running around the clock to produce materials for face masks and other healthcare applications, such as materials used in blood filtration.
Berry’s position in the supply chain for these healthcare materials is of critical importance. The company manufactures nonwoven fabrics, which are then sold to converters who produce infection prevention items such as face masks, N95 respirators and protective apparel.
“We are proud to be a part of this fight,” says Tom Salmon, Berry chairman and CEO. “Many don’t realize the role plastics play in protecting us from infection and the spread of disease, when in fact, they are a critical component. Our leadership position and global scale allow us to create increased supply when encountering a pandemic such as this.”
Meanwhile, Berry has announced the commercialization of its new Spinlace production line in Mooresville, NC. A $50 million investment, the asset is running at full production rates, providing an incremental 17,000 metric tons of annual capacity to the marketplace. The Spinlace asset is focused on various wipes applications serving the healthcare, hygiene, household cleaning, foodservice and industrial markets. This further secures Berry’s leadership position in the manufacturing of hard surface disinfectant wipes.
“We are very excited to begin commercial shipments from our third proprietary Spinlace asset in the United States. The technology provides customers with the ability to design customized products imparting flexibility in strength, image or branding, functionality, raw materials selection and much more,” says Mark Siebert, EVP & GM of Berry’s Health and Specialties, United States and Canada.
In addition to its nonwoven capabilities, Berry also provides packaging for a number of in-demand items, such as disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and soaps.