As of Feb. 2, Chunying announced that South Korea, Japan, the U.K., France, Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Iran, Belarus and Indonesia have donated epidemic prevention and control supplies. “What we urgently need at present are medical supplies for prevention and control, masks, protective suits and safety goggles among other items,” she said.
Orders for nonwovens and nonwoven-based products like facemasks and personal protective apparel have surged in recent days, and production has ramped up after it was suspended during the extended Lunar New Year holiday.
The China Global Television Network (CGTN) visited a factory that produces nonwovens for masks and protective clothing in Foshan, which is operating at maximum capacity. The factory produces 80 tons of nonwovens per day that can be used to make one million surgical masks, or 400,000 protective suits, according to the report.
Cui Yanzhao, general manager of the factory, told CGTN that orders they received in just a few days were even more than the total of what they usually receive in a single month.
Meanwhile, China Central Television (CCTV news) is reporting that the major nonwoven fabric companies in Xiantao city, Hubei Province, recalled their staff to resume production following the holiday. “We urgently contacted all the employees who had been on leave to return to work at 3 p.m. on the second of February. Around 8 a.m. on the third of February we urgently organized 120 employees’ return to work,” a factory employee said.
Nonwovens machinery specialist A.Celli’s technology, which has a large presence in China, was on display in the CCTV newscast at a Berry Global site. According to Simone Morgantini, A.Celli’s marketing & communication manager, the company has been contacted by several private companies, public municipalities in China and foreign affairs offices that were all urgently researching protective material such as disposable masks and protective clothing.
As a machinery manufacturer, A.Celli was able to provide them with a list of the major spunbond producers in China, Southeast Asia, as well as in Europe and the U.S., who would be able to put them in direct contact with converters that make disposable masks and protective apparel. A.Celli is offering full support and technical advice should they plan to increase the production of nonwoven fabrics. “However, we are confident that this emergency will be resolved in the best way and in the shortest possible time,” he says.
Last week, Berry Global announced it was prioritizing the production of nonwoven healthcare products at its Nanhai, China, and Suzhou, China, facilities, which are used to manufacture products that can help protect against airborne particles like the coronavirus.
Nonwoven materials produced at the facilities are used in facemasks, N95 respirators, and protective apparel, all of which have recently been in high demand in the plan to prevent the spread of not only the coronavirus, but also other communicable diseases.
“Our thoughts go out to those affected by the coronavirus. Our dedicated teams are working around the clock to manufacture as much of these materials as possible to help prevent the spread of the virus,” says Curt Begle, president of Berry’s Health, Hygiene, and Specialties Division.
At the Nanhai and Suzhou sites, Berry produces spunbond, SMS, meltblown and thru air bond materials.
“Our focus right now is producing healthcare materials for masks, respirators, surgical products and protective apparel,” says Amy Waterman, global marketing communications manager, Berry Global. “We have increased production of these products by shifting production away from hygiene products during this crisis.”
3M is also seeing increased demand in China and other regions responding to the coronavirus outbreak. In response, the company is increasing global production of personal protective equipment products, including respirators.
3M is working with customers, distributors, and government and health officials to help them obtain needed supplies. The company has donated medical supplies such as respirators, surgical masks and hand sanitizer in affected areas in China, and will continue to work with its humanitarian aid partners such as Wuhan Red Cross, Direct Relief and MAP International to provide needed equipment.
3Mgives, the social investment arm of 3M, also pre-stocks supplies with humanitarian aid partners, and these product donations – including N95 or equivalent respirators – were provided to be rapidly deployed to affected communities. This is in addition to local 3M China product donations of respirators, surgical masks and hand sanitizer, totaling more than $1 million to date.
For its part, KNH Enterprise of Taipei, Taiwan, is increasing its output for medical masks, while reducing the output for other types of masks such as PM2.5 masks, dust masks and industrial masks, according to Bobo Chang of KNH. Because of the shortage of raw materials, KNH is continuing to focus on acquiring new raw materials, Chang adds.
Meanwhile, Beckmann Converting, a contract textile laminator specializing in ultrasonic bonding and hot melt adhesive gravure roll bonding technologies, has implemented a Rapid Response initiative to support providers of medical products and protective clothing that may need additional production capacity as the coronavirus outbreak widens.
“Our customers making certain medical products, protective clothing, and specialty medical wipes are telling us that demand for these health-related products may outstrip their current capacity for the foreseeable future,” says Ray Piascik, director of sales and marketing at Beckmann Converting. “We are able to leverage our decades of experience to provide Rapid Response services necessary to boost production volume and help customers maintain availability of critical products as the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold.”
Since most near-term needs are in existing textile composite product lines, an expedited roll trial is vital to verify producibility by defining manufacturing parameters and achieving product quality requirements, he explains. “We can move to supplemental contract production very quickly. Further, should the virus outbreak require modified or new products, Beckmann Converting can leverage capabilities in running fast, small trials and other services to support new product development.”
On the wipes side, Diamond Wipes International announced that its HandyClean Steridol Wipes has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on hard, non-porous surfaces, and can be used against 2019-nCoV when used in accordance with the directions for use against norovirus on hard, non-porous surfaces.
“We understand the severity of this outbreak and are proud to have a product that can prevent the coronavirus from spreading,” says Diamond Wipes president Jessica Lum.
The HandyClean Steridol Wipes are EPA-registered and proven to kill 99.9% of microorganisms tested, including bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew. The wipes are made in the USA and are designed for use in hospitals and healthcare centers, day care centers and nursing homes, schools, cafeterias, gyms, grocery stores, restaurants and bars, public transportation hubs and any other highly-populated areas where disease can easily spread. The wipes are ammonia-free, bleach-free and phosphate-free and are packaged in a recyclable container.