Johannesburg, April 24 (People's Daily Online) -- Local medical experts have all echoed calls for the public to make use of cloth masks to avoid being infected by the virus, but the world is still faced with a shortage of the material to manufacture quality 3 ply masks. Melt blown and SS Non-woven cloth are the main materials in the manufacturing of surgical 3 ply masks.
But mask manufacturing company, Amana Healthcare Products, which had faced problems in producing masks due to lack of global material supplies, can now run their production lines at full speed with the help of a Chinese company, HARVEST NON-WOVEN PRODUCTS (PTY) LTD.
This Chinese company specializes in the manufacturing of SMS cloth, which is designed for potato packaging and fruit packing in South Africa. When the call came for more mask material to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the company converted its operations to produce melt blown and SS Non-Woven cloth to support local mask manufacturing factories.
Sun Xiaodong, CEO of the company, said on April 18th that they are trying to bring the transformation of the production line fully in line with the strict production standard of medical materials. The manufacturing plant is designed to adhere to the BRC standard of the food industry. They added a static masterbatch to their cloth and increased the static with 40,000 volts by using an electrostatic generator to enhance the material’s virus adsorption function.
To increase BFE, they also installed a cooling system at the nose of the spinneret plate, allowing the fabric to cool faster to reduce the air resistance. Hisence SA provided a super-powerful air conditioner and assisted in the transportation of the machines. So far, their 25 GSM melt blown has achieved 97% BFE, and they are busy developing the technology to produce high quality FFP3 material to support local mask manufactures.
JW Eggjink, Sales Manager of BBF Safety Group, said import tariffs can be directly exempted through local purchases and is also more convenient. “In the current mask shortage situation, they (HARVEST NON-WOVEN PRODUCTS (PTY) LTD) did not raise the price of raw material.”
U-mask, a local manufacturer of FFP2 masks, donated 30,000 FFP2 masks to China in February. HARVEST NON-WOVEN PRODUCTS (PTY) LTD helped them purchase a surgical mask production line from China, and is providing full assistance in transportation and technical services.
Marko, the Production Supervisor of HARVEST NON-WOVEN PRODUCTS (PTY) LTD, has been working for the company since September, 2018. He said many local employees refused to wear masks when the epidemic started, because they believed that only patients wear them. With the company's persistent training, everyone has changed their minds. "The company really did its best to protect employees’ families."
“We love this rainbow nation, we love South Africa, and we want to contribute to help South Africa fight the epidemic,” Sun Xiaodong said.