Berry boosts capacity to help address global face mask materials shortage
The company is increasing U.S. meltblown capacity for face mask material and introducing a new material for face mask media in Europe.
Berry Global Group Inc. is taking a series of steps to increase production of face mask materials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The initiatives include the company designating additional capacity for the production of face mask materials in North America and introducing a new material for face masks in Europe. These solutions include pivoting existing manufacturing assets and creating alternative materials for face masks.
To address the ever increasing demand for face mask material in the U.S., Berry has expanded its proprietary Meltex platform to add meltblown capacity in Waynesboro, Virginia. “This capacity was quickly converted from a pilot line into one which provides full commercial output,” the company said in a statement. “The line will make meltblown materials which will ultimately be used in surgical-grade face masks along with N95 and N99 respirators. This added capacity will support the manufacturing of approximately 200 million face masks annually.”
In addition to its Waynesboro facility, Berry has a number of North American nonwovens manufacturing facilities which are rapidly producing materials that help protect against the spread of COVID-19. The added capacity in Waynesboro is complementary to Berry’s existing portfolio, producing incremental output of high-performing, surgical-grade materials serving the North American market.
Evansville, Indiana-based Berry is also launching an extension to its Synergex range of products. Called Synergex ONE, a new media for face mask applications, the material was developed to initially meet the new face mask categories for general population; and the aim is to quickly bring the media up to EN 14683:2019 standards for surgical masks. “The newly introduced Synergex ONE provides a multilayer nonwoven composite product in a single sheet, as an alternative to traditional face mask layer structures,” Berry officials said. “This new material will be manufactured in Europe and serve the European market and is available immediately.”
“This was something that was of paramount importance in the short term development,” said Cedric Ballay EVP and general manager for Europe in Health, Hygiene, and Specialties for Berry. “Given the array of materials currently being offered to the market, we are proud to offer an alternative solution to the traditional charged meltblown. We are now continuing to push on with the development to be able to pass BFE Type I and Type II testing with this media.”