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Nonwovens/​Converting

Bio-based meltblown now available in Europe

The manufacturing facility in Geleen was built in record-time and uses feedstocks based on used cooking oil.

18th October 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Geleen, Netherlands.

Sustainable, Protective

Dutch PPE Solutions, the joint venture of Royal DSM and VDL Groep, has started production of virus filtering material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks in a newly-built factory by DSM in Geleen, the Netherlands.

With the production of the critical meltblown polypropylene filter layer in the Netherlands, the joint venture makes Europe less dependent on supplies from overseas and ensures that professionals in healthcare and other sectors can always do their work safely.

The opening of the first production facility for meltblown polypropylene in the Netherlands creates greater resilience to surges in demand for medical facemasks and the underlying materials. The high-quality filter material is made from bio-based feedstock – used cooking oil – and the manufacturing machines run on renewable electricity. The company’s ambition is to produce the most sustainable filter material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks.

Record-time

The meltblown polypropylene manufacturing facility in Geleen was built in record-time. From idea, planning, construction, building and testing to large scale production took only months – three times faster than regular lead times. The first facemasks from Dutch PPE Solutions were delivered in January 2021, containing filter material from a non-Dutch supplier. Now meltblown polypropylene filter material from Dutch PPE Solutions is also available to other customers in Europe.

DSM and VDL joined forces in September 2020 to meet the urgent need to diversify the global production and supply chains of personal protective equipment at scale by reducing dependency on a small number of international sources. The two companies invested several million euros in manufacturing equipment to produce facemasks and in the new manufacturing facility for meltblown polypropylene.

Dutch IIR facemask manufacturer MedProtex is the new venture’s first customer.

“To establish a sustainable, transparent and futureproof production chain of personal protection equipment, it is crucial to have access to raw materials close to home,” CEO MedProtex Cyrille Depondt. “The opening of the factory for high-quality critical filter material in Geleen is a testimony to entrepreneurship and a proofpoint for making our Dutch and European infrastructure more resilient for future pandemics. At MedProtex we believe in short, sustainable chains and transparency. Dutch PPE Solutions delivers just that and is why we decided to use its meltblown polypropylene filter material in our products. This powerful collaboration is Made in Holland and creates multiple value on economic, social and ecological levels.”

“The initial goal of DSM and VDL was to help when it was most needed and immediate actions were necessary in the fight against Covid-19,” added Pieter Wolters, vice president of DSM and member of the Dutch PPE Solutions Board. “We learned during the early months of the pandemic what the risks are of full dependency of overseas suppliers and that a partial capacity of local manufacturing will provide better health and safety for the future. We promised we would do something about it and now we deliver. With the Geleen-based meltblown polypropylene production facility and the facemask production lines in Helmond we secured a Western European supply of facemasks and critical facemask components.”

www.dutchppesolutions.com

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