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Oerlikon Nonwoven expands it laboratory nonwovens production capacities from May

Published: April 30, 2020

Materials for in excess of one million protective masks

Within the context of supporting the critical infrastructure in Germany, Oerlikon Nonwoven immediately began converting its laboratory systems in Neu- münster to manufacture nonwovens at the end of March. With this, only small local businesses and companies were initially supported in the manufacture of oronasal masks. The laboratory system at the R&D Center is normally used solely for research and development purposes and customer trials. It was never conceived for continuous operation in its original form. Now, Oerlikon Nonwoven has made further investments in order to enable continuous operation in the laboratory. With this, material for more than one million protective masks a month can be man- ufactured.

“Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, we have received more than 500 inquiries that we are progressively dealing with. To be quite honest, we had initially not anticipated such tremendous inter- est. But the demand is there and we quickly further adapted to the challenge”, states Andreas Frisch, Head of Operations at Oerlikon Nonwoven. The laboratory has meanwhile run out of raw materials and new orders for replacement materials had to be placed before Easter – with current delivery times of approx. 3 weeks. This will allow production to be resumed, and even considerably expanded, in May.

The laboratory system is now once again being deployed to produce nonwovens that will be used to make more than million face masks / oronasal masks a month, nonwovens of the very highest quality.

“We will not be manufacturing the masks ourselves. We have meanwhile found both corresponding partner companies and also private individuals demanding nonwovens”, adds Andreas Frisch, com- menting on the developments.

Boom in orders

Furthermore, Oerlikon Nonwoven has also fired up the production of the machines and systems used for its meltblown technology. The demand from Germany, Europe and the rest of the world has quickly secured the company a boom in orders. “In the meantime, we have been able to sign orders in the mid-range double-digit millions. We have adapted our delivery times as much as possible and will – this is our objective – start delivering the additional orders for nonwovens systems from the fall”, ex- plains Rainer Straub, Head of Oerlikon Nonwoven. We will be commissioning the first meltblown sys- tem at the site of a leading Western European nonwovens producers in the second quarter of 2020. This system will be deployed exclusively in the manufacture of nonwovens for respiratory masks.

The Oerlikon Nonwoven Meltblown technology – with which nonwovens for respiratory masks can also be manufactured, among other things – is recognized by the market as being the technically most efficient method for producing highly-separating filter media made from plastic fibers. The ca- pacities for respiratory masks available in Europe to date are predominantly manufactured on Oerlikon Nonwoven systems.

The Oerlikon Nonwoven meltblown technology is recognized by the market as being the technically most efficient method for producing highly-separating filter media made from plastic fibers.

Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) develops modern materials, systems and surface technologies and provides specialized services aimed at securing high-performance products and systems with long lifespans for customers. Supported by its technological core competencies and its strong financial footing, the cor- poration continues its medium-term growth plan by implementing three strategic factors: focusing on attractive growth markets, ensuring structural growth and expanding through targeted M&A activities. Oerlikon is a globally-leading technology and engineering corporation, operating its business in two segments (Surface Solutions and Manmade Fibers) and employing around 11,000 members of staff at 182 sites in 37 countries worldwide. In 2019, Oerlikon generated sales of CHF 2.6 billion and invested more than CHF 120 million in research & development.

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About the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment

With its Oerlikon Barmag, Oerlikon Neumag and Oerlikon Nonwoven brands, the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment is one of the leading providers of manmade fiber filament spinning systems, texturing machines, BCF systems, staple fiber systems and solutions for the production of nonwovens and – as a service provider – offers engineering solutions for the entire textile value added chain.

As a future oriented company, the research and development at this division of the Oerlikon Group is driven by energy-efficiency and sustainable technologies (e-save). With its range of polycondensation and extrusion systems and their key components, the company caters to the entire manufacturing process – from the monomer all the way through to the textured yarn. The product portfolio is rounded off with automation and Industrie 4.0 solutions.

The primary markets for the product portfolio of Oerlikon Barmag are in Asia, especially in China, India and Turkey, and – for those of Oerlikon Neumag and Oerlikon Nonwoven – in the USA, Asia, Turkey and Europe. Worldwide, the segment – with just under 3,000 employees – has a presence in 120 countries with production, sales and distribution and service organizations. At the R&D centers in Remscheid, Neumünster (Germany) and Suzhou (China), highly-qualified engineers, technologists and technicians develop innovative and technologically-leading products for tomorrow’s world.
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