Technological Trends in Manufacturing of 3 Ply Surgical/Disposable Masks in India & Way Forward Globally
In the wake of the latest CORONA Virus COVID-19 as popularly named, the demands of Surgical/Disposable Masks have sky rocketed globally. There are multiple types of Masks being manufactured and supplied in the market. However off late it has been observed that buyers & consumers are less ware about the types of Masks that suits the requirement. Most of these Masks are actually a deterrent & can’t prevent an individual from getting affected by any Common Flu or COVID-19 for that matter.
Depending on the demography of the region & people the type of Masks to be used varies from region to region & country to country. However there is a Block Deal kind of activity going on in India at this moment. The Traders/Buyers/Sellers are all making a block deal even without knowing if the products they are dealing in are actually appropriate or not for usage. The main contents of the 2/3 Ply Disposable Masks is the Meltblown Non-Woven Fabric Filter Media. Currently this fabric is not Available in India with most of the Manufacturers, even if they have the waiting time for delivery is approx. 2-3 months after Pre-order booking or with a much lesser BFE Efficiency of >50%.
Globally, the main segments of meltblown nonwovens include three basic application types—filtration (liquid and air) media, insulation (thermal or sound) media and sorbent (absorption) media. Filtration end uses remain the biggest market for meltblown nonwoven fabrics. There is increasing consumption of lightweight meltblown fabrics in composite structures like SMS, SMMS etc. for producing barrier inducing `medical` use fabrics ranging from 15 -30 gsm. Meltblown used in filter media is primarily made of polypropylene which allows it to offer a very high barrier filtration efficiency of 95-99%.
Based on the current shortage of raw material availability most of the Mask Manufacturers are using Non-woven Spun bonded Fabric for Manufacturing these masks in India & most of the Asian countries. The demand for Melblown is so high that Manufacturers & Traders have started quoting the per Kilogram (KG) price up to INR 4000/Kgs up from INR 250/Kgs at one point of time. These new Masks which are currently manufactured does not confirm to ISO 9001: 2015 or ISO 13485: 2016 or CE compliances.
Meltblown cloth is the “heart” of surgical masks and N95 masks.
Medical surgical masks and N95 masks generally use a multilayer structure, referred to as the SMS structure: a single layer of spunbond on the inside and outside (S) ; the middle is the meltblown layer (M) , generally divided into single layers Or multiple layers.
The process of meltblown nonwoven fabrics: polymer feed – melt extrusion – fiber formation – fiber cooling – web formation – reinforcement into cloth. Meltblown is known as ultra-fine fibers.
The spun-bonded filaments do not have the fineness of the melt-blown method, and the reason is the production process. There are many manufacturing processes for the manufacture of nonwoven fabrics, of which the spunbond process is one of the non-woven fabric manufacturing processes spun-bonded nonwoven fabrics (including spunbonded, melt-blown, hot-rolled, and ladle processes)
The most suitable substitutes for Meltblown fabric in the current global scenario which can pass the Filtration Efficiency Test & Quality Parameters is the-
Needle Punched loom fiber entangling with revolutionary hydroentangling technology to deliver industry leading dust collection performance. The phenomena of entangling fibers with high pressure water jets creates a unique balance of lower pore size in a strong media filtration.
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