Austrian chemicals company helps produce PPE

Chemicals company, Borealis, has started producing meltblown fabrics for face mask applications on its pilot line in Linz, Austria. ×

The company has managed to transform its working environment from pure development to smaller scale pilot production, in order to regularly produce rolls of fine fibre fabrics for face masks.

A new proprietary PolyPropylene (PP) meltblown resin, which has recently been developed by Borealis, has boosted filtration properties due to its capability for finer fibres.

The crucial importance of advanced PP solutions of meltblown fabrics for the hygiene and healthcare industries – in particular for face masks and protective wear – has been made painfully apparent as the global coronavirus pandemic has led to dramatic global shortages of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and others.

Borealis has 35 years of experience with PP meltblown innovations and grades, and the pilot line in Linz has played an important role in the development. The pilot line is now being re-purposed to help meet the need for face masks during the pandemic.

The chemicals company has partnered up with value chain partners, local and regional governmental organisations, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to supply filtration fabrics for face masks, in order to meet any urgent needs within the region. The temporarily converted small-scale pilot testing facilities are located in the Application Hall at Borealis Innovation Headquarters in Linz. The newly developed Borealis HL912FB is being used to produce meltblown fabric to be applied for customised inlays in cotton-based mouth-nose masks, for conventional mouth-nose masks, and also for high-end face masks worn by medical professionals (FFP1 to FFP3).

A typical mask is made out of spunbonded outer layers and a meltblown middle layer. The spunbonded layers provide the structure while the meltblown layer is providing the barrier properties. Borealis is able to provide both the meltblown materials and a variety of spunbond PP grades.

Lucrèce Foufopoulos, Borealis executive vice president polyolefins, Innovation and Circular Economy Solutions, commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sudden steep increase in the need for PPE, while supply chains are being disrupted around the globe. We would like to assure our partners that we remain the reliable supplier of advanced polymers for the manufacture of high-quality face masks and other PPE.

“True to our company purpose, ‘Life demands progress – we are re-inventing for more sustainable living’, we are offering innovative solutions like Borealis HL912FB and are re-purposing our own pilot facilities to a small-scale production line for meltblown fabrics. We have capitalised on our close collaboration with governments, NGOs and value chain partners to optimally deploy our innovation and manufacturing capabilities at the service of society.” 

Tags coronavirus PPE polypropylene face masks personal protective equipment Borealis COVID-19

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 737882.


            

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