Berry Global has advanced its investment in an additional specialty meltblown asset to produce high-efficiency filtration media serving the EMEIA markets. Current projections are for commercial production to start in the June quarter of 2020 and will be located in France.
The investment will meet increased demand and customer growth and will be focused on premium applications, such as FFP2 (N95) and FFP3 (N99) for industrial face mask and cabin air filtration markets. The new line will be equipped with Berry’s proprietary charging technology to deliver optimal filtration efficiency and pressure drop at lower basis weights. Berry has a unique offering, providing products across technologies and markets. In this instance, the company is using its resources to provide the highest level of supply across Europe and more.
As the largest manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics and one of the world’s leading plastic packaging suppliers, Berry makes materials for the world’s leading and emerging brands. These products range in use from materials for face masks and protective healthcare apparel to packaging for food preservation and disinfecting products, many of which have seen a demand surge in the fight against COVID-19. These critical materials include nonwoven fabrics for face masks and respirators, both of which will benefit from the increased capacity being brought online.
“As a market leader in that space, we had been planning to add more capacity shortly after our latest investment in Asia came on line. The opportunity to support the fight against COVID-19 accelerated our decision,” says Cedric Ballay EVP & GM for Europe in Health, Hygiene, and Specialties for Berry. “Our ability to be agile will benefit our customers and our communities.”
The 1.6 meter-wide line is being supplied by Reicofil and is equipped with a technology for electrostatic charging and provides high-quality filter material that guarantees a high degree of separation, low pressure loss and a high storage capacity. The plant will bring an additional annual capacity of 550 tonnes of N95 material respectively 365 tonnes of N99 material to the market, which will serve the EMEA economic area. The plant will be installed in France.
“We are pleased that the Berry Group, the world's largest producer of nonwovens, is investing in new capacities for urgently needed, high-quality filter material," says Bernd Kunze, CEO of Reifenhäuser Reicofil. "The demand for these materials is currently enormous and will, in our opinion, remain so in the future. We will provide all producers, who want to get involved in the fight against COVID-19, with the best possible support for rapid project realisation. This is virtually a ‘NATO project’, jointly supported by Americans, French and Germans. That makes me proud as a European.”
In response to increased demand for face mask material brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic, Reicofil announced it has shortened lead times for meltblown orders to three months. The machinery supplier has also opened up its pilot meltlbown lines to provide meltblown products to face mask manufacturers.