“In the wake of COVID-19, the need for the filtration media that makes face masks effective has increased dramatically, so much so that it is now being called the ‘golden fleece,’” Sara A. Greenstein, president and CEO of Lydall, says. “As one of the only companies in North America and Europe with the technical expertise, supplier relationships and access to the right machines to produce this filtration media, we feel great responsibility to do everything within our power to increase our output, support domestic supply chains and contribute to the global fight against COVID-19. This investment is one example of Lydall’s commitment to do just that.”
The new asset will complement Lydall’s existing global meltblown capacity and is estimated to supply the filtration media for one billion face masks per year, almost a third of the 3.5 billion that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has projected as necessary to protect healthcare workers. Lydall expects commercial production to begin in its Rochester, NH, facility in the fourth quarter of 2020 and plans to hire up to 15 additional employees to support the increase in production.
A technical market leader in the creation of specialty filtration solutions for nearly 100 years, Lydall has quickly pivoted to address the worldwide surge in demand for PPE and other products that support frontline workers and their patients. In addition to manufacturing the critical filtration efficiency layers for N95 respirator masks, ASTM 1, 2, 3 medical masks, and general-purpose masks, Lydall also supplies other support materials for face masks, including comfort layers, protective layers and ties straps.
“Being a trustworthy business partner is a top priority at Lydall. It is always our goal to provide our customers with a consistent supply of high-quality, specialty products and superior customer service,” Ashish Diwanji, incoming president of Lydall Performance Materials, adds. “As the principal supplier of meltblown filtration media to many of the U.S.’s largest face mask producers, we are currently operating at full capacity, with our extraordinarily dedicated team running our existing production lines 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are pleased that the new installation of this asset will enable us to substantially increase our output of this critically-needed product.”
The company has also ramped up production of other much-needed filtration products like needlepunch felt for hospital gowns, medical wipes and absorbent bed pads. In preparation for the U.S. economy’s reopening, Lydall’s innovation team is advancing its filtration science to develop new, high-efficiency, HEPA-rated filtration media to improve the air quality of public spaces, including office buildings, shopping centers, hospitals and airports.
With a global footprint and 3,300 employees around the world, Lydall has facilities across the United States, Canada, Europe and China that are all capable of manufacturing these products and supporting local supply chains. Beyond PPE, the company offers a wide portfolio of capabilities and materials that have medical, governmental and military applications.