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The Covid-19 crisis puts global production capacity for hygiene products to a severe test. In March Reifenhäuser has temporarily produced metlblown to produce roughly one million face masks a day at its Technology Center. The company has now converted another pilot line for production. The first batch produces 110 metric tons of protective film for a global leading manufacturer for medical coveralls for use in hospitals. The increased demand is currently very high for coveralls worn to treat highly infectious coronavirus patients. This volume is sufficient for about 1.2 million coveralls.
Reifenhäuser, the manufacturer of plastics extrusion lines, normally uses the Technology Center to research and develop new applications in collaboration with its customers. One of the available blown-film lines is currently running 24/7, initially until the end of this week. The film protects against infections but allows air exchange which is vital for hospital workers who must wear coveralls for long periods of time. Breathability comes from the pore structure in the material which is produced by a special calcium carbonate addition followed by a stretching process (Reifenhäuser EVO Ultra Stretch).
Heino Claussen-Markefka, Managing Director Reifenhäuser Blown Film, explains: “Our intention with this project is to make another contribution to strengthen international production capacity which is currently exhausted, so as to supply a sufficient volume of high-quality protective garments during the coronavirus crisis. And we are delighted to use our pilot lines for this.”
The same line type is capable of producing hygienic film for use in diapers, besides certified medical protective film. Ultra Stretch technology can also be used in other advanced applications, such as recyclable All-PE film (PET replacement). The production unit can therefore be used flexibly to respond to a wide variety of market demands outside of an emergency or crisis.