The producer of technical textiles Freudenberg Performance Materials Holding SE & Co. KG, Weinheim/Germany, is expanding its production capacity for nonwoven media used exclusively to manufacture certified face masks of the mouth-nose protection type pursuant to the EN14683 standard, as well as FFP1, 2 and 3 masks pursuant to the EN149 standard.
The media are specially developed for and sold to the medical technology processing industry.
These nonwovens are also used in the company’s own medical face masks, which the company has been manufacturing at its Kaiserslautern site since late April 2020 under the brand name “Collectex”. Freudenberg currently produces some 500,000 masks/day.
Freudenberg is investing in the construction of a new state-of-the-art meltblown production line at the Kaiserslautern site. Commissioning of the new plant is slated for the first quarter (Q1) of 2021. Freudenberg produces meltblown nonwovens from extremely fine meltspun polypropylene microfibers.
These Collectex masks filter at least 98 % of the wearer’s relevant aerosols and have low breathing resistance allowing the wearer to breathe easily. The masks consist of 2 outer layers of spunlaid nonwovens and a core of meltblown nonwovens. The fiber diameter is between one third (spunlaid) and one thirtieth (meltblown) of a human hair. The fine fibers also have an electrostatic charge. The high filtration efficiency results from the combination of this electrostatic charge and the fineness of the individual fibers.
The specially developed nonwovens allow 2 filter effects to work simultaneously. Due to the inertia effect, some particles are unable to follow the air flow around the fibers and instead stick to them. In the diffusion effect, very small particles move irregularly in the air flow, making it likely that they come into contact with the fibers. The electrostatic charge intensifies both a mask’s inertia and diffusion effect. Like a magnet, the fibers attract and capture the particles.