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Textile Machinery Blog


Machines for the production of materials for respirator masks, social distancing masks and protectiv

January 2022
Author: Karin Schmidt
Company: VDMA - Textile Machinery Association
Machines for the production of materials for respirator masks, social distancing masks and protectiv

Whether masks, surgical gowns or disinfecting wipes, the production of the textile starting material is the first step in a multi-stage production process. Members of the VDMA are at the beginning of this technological chain.

Inquiries for production technology of respirators and other protective clothing are coordinated centrally by the VDMA Working Group Medical Technology, which has compiled this overview of machinery for the production of respiratory masks.

This article provides an overview of the range of equipment and services offered by textile machinery manufacturers at the beginning of the technological chain.

Material for masks
The filter material of surgical masks as well as FFP2 and FFP3 respirator masks (particle-filtering half masks) consists of fine-pored meltblown nonwovens and spunbond nonwovens. Production lines for these nonwoven products are manufactured by OERLIKON NONWOVEN or NANOVAL. Calenders for these types of nonwovens are offered by ANDRITZ Küsters und SCHOTT & MEISSNER. Spinnerets for spunbonded and meltblown webs are produced by ENKA TECNICA and SOSSNA.

The quality requirements for the nonwovens used for the respirator masks are just as high as for the mask - to ensure the protection of the mask wearer. With a wide range of measurement and control technology, MAHLO can support manufacturers in monitoring and controlling important parameters such as basis weight and air permeability during the production process.

For surgical masks, FFP respirators and social distancing masks (community masks) a wide variety of other materials and combinations of materials are used (nonwovens, woven fabrics, knitted or warp knitted fabrics and laminates thereof).

Elastic bands are required to wear the masks and several technologies are available for their production:
Braided products such as stranded and round braids are produced on HERZOG braiding machines. KARL MAYER has developed a solution for producing elastic tapes on warp knitting machines. LUCAS offers circular knitting machines for the production of rubber bands.

Textile materials are wet finished to give them function-specific properties. KÜSTERS TEXTILE manufactures a padder which is also used in the field of surgical masks. Antiviral and antimicrobial textile finishing chemicals can be applied to the fabric webs with WEKO contactless application systems.

The complete mapping of all production steps is extremely important for the quality assurance of a medical product: HALO-electronic offers a software system with which each mask can be traced throughout the entire production process. 

The KARL MAYER Group offers textile production technologies for knitted and warp knitted mouth and nose masks. The masks can be produced in a single step without the need for sewing and include an integrated pocket for a nonwoven filter. Mouth and nose masks can also be woven seamlessly in one piece on DORNIER weaving machines and then lasered into the desired shape. Details hereJAKOB MÜLLER narrow fabric weaving machines can also produce fabrics for masks whose pattern and colour can be changed quickly.

ANDRITZ Diatec manufactures a fully automatic, high speed line for the production of surgical and further disposable face masks. The manufacturing system of GFM Spezialmaschinenbau produces surgical face masks, mainly flat disposable masks. The company KMF offers a newly developed sewing automat for mouth and nose masks (not certified).  LACOM and ONTEC Automation manufactures production lines for surgical masks and on request also for FFP2 masks without valve. SCHOTT & MEISSNER has developed a new generation of a respirator mask assembly line for FFP2 masks.

beck packautomaten offers different technologies for the packaging of masks in single or multiple piece packaging.

Related links:
Guide for the approval of respiratory masks (VDMA Medical Technology)
DIN provides standards for medical equipment

Protective gowns
The starting materials for surgical gowns and other disposable protective clothing are manufactured on the above-mentioned machines for meltblown and spunbond nonwovens and on spunlace lines. The VDMA members ANDRITZ PerfojetDILO and TRÜTZSCHLER Nonwovens offer components, machines or lines for spunlace products. MAHLO's measurement and control technology mentioned above is also used here for quality assurance.

WEKO also offers contactless application systems for this area of use. MONFORTS offers to help customers to rapidly transition new antiviral and antimicrobial textile finishing chemicals for personal protective equipment by running trials on customers’ behalf at Monforts’ Advanced Technology Centre. Drying systems for wet finished meltblown nonwovens as well as systems for the blood and liquid repellent finishing of disposable protective clothing are part of the portfolio of BRÜCKNER and SCHOTT & MEISSNERMENZEL manufactures machines for the winding and cutting to length of hygiene nonwovens for surgical material.

For anti-virus gowns, LACOM's  batch-to-batch production line is used to laminate nonwovens and membranes or films.

beck packautomaten offers various technologies for the packaging of protective gowns, suits and medical sheetings.

Disinfection wipes
For the production of these wipes non-woven material is used, which is produced by meltblown or spunlace process, see above mentioned manufacturers of nonwoven lines and components. For drying, high-performance dryers made by BRÜCKNER and SCHOTT & MEISSNER are used in combination with spunlace lines. MAHLO's measurement and control technology allows the determination of important parameters after hydroentanglement and drying to ensure quality and optimize the manufacturing process. beck packautomaten offers technologies for the packaging of disinfection wipes.

Other textiles for the medical and hygiene sector
Search terms, such as stents or artificial arteries can be found in manufacturer's guide database. If the product you are interested in is not listed, we will be glad to help you find manufacturers of production technology.


Sources Picture: shutterstock