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The world is making masks now …

√        THE ANATOMY OF MASK AND PPE KITS

√        CAN THIS SAVE APPAREL INDUSTRY’S FUTURE

Blessing in disguise is a common phrase and it looks that it’s importance is being realised now in the current situation. Ever since the corona pandemic came in there has been a sharp increase in demand for mask and ppe kits from all over the world. Apparel and fashion industry which has been making fashion clothes is now engaging itself and using their expertise in making masks and PPE kits.

While some are making it as a step towards social responsibility towards the frontrunners like medical staff, fire fighters and security and police personal many are making it for the society who need it everyday to protect themselves from the rising threat of Coronovirus.

In this story TEAM PERFECT SOURCING we have tried to understand how can one convert the existing garment making unit to PPE and mask making unit; what is the scope of growth in this industry and how can manufacturers in India take this as an opportunity.

International Retail Chains Starts Making PPE

Primark in a statement issued the company at its German headquarters, are joining theefforts to manufacture face masks. Not only at its production facilities, but also in its conference rooms, which have been furnished with sewing machines and related equipment, and repurposed as workshops.

Louis Vuitton is funneling more resources into producing medical gowns for frontline workers in Paris amid the Covid-19 crisis. The heritage French luxury brand is transforming its Parisian workrooms to produce desperately needed medical coverings. All of the finished products will be donated to staff working around the clock at six local hospitals dedicated to treating patients stricken with the novel coronavirus.

“We are proud to be able to help healthcare professionals at our level and put our know-how at the disposal of the Hôpitaux de Paris to create gowns for medical staff,” said Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO, Michael Burke, in a press release.

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American Eagle and Aerie brands is donating $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, along with a million face masks to healthcare workers, in an effort to support communities in need. “ “While these challenging times are uncharted territory for all of us, this mission remains more important than ever,” said Jennifer Foyle, Aerie global brand president.

Delta Apparel, Inc. (NYSE American: DLA), a leading provider of core activewear and lifestyle apparel products, announced that it will leverage its manufacturing facilities to begin producing cotton face masks. The Company has joined a coalition of iconic apparel brands that are responding to urgent calls for companies to help produce face masks during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Once fully ramped up, the coalition, inclusive of Delta Apparel, expects to produce up to 10 million face masks per week in the United States and in Central America.

Hugo Boss has turned over its main German plant to contribute to the production of masks, or the latest example by a major fashion brand supporting the fight against Covid-19.

Can India’s Apparel Industry Rely on PPE & Mask Making as an option ?

The show must go on is a common saying that we all know. Walking on the similar lines a major chunk of garment exporters have started manufacturing masks and PPE kits. Though as of now exports are banned and the manufacturers feel that they can avail more benefits once the ban is removed, however, right now the demand within the country is sufficient to run the factories.

Companies like Shahi Exports, Gokaldas Images, Pratibha Syntex, Texport Syndicate, Arvind Limited, Welspun , Gokaldas Exports,Shiva Tex Fab, FabIndia Overseas and many more are already in the process of making quality and quanity in masks and PPE kits, In fact, some of them are directly working for Ministry of Health.

At Shiva Tex Fab’s manufacturing facility, there is ceasless activity as 1,000 workers are on the job to produce the most important and critical order for the company in recent times, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). The company is among eight in the state to have got an order to manufacture it; seven of these are from in and around Ludhiana. Owner Akhil Malhotra of Shiva Tex Fab says his company received government nod to manufacture PPE kits on April 6 and N-95 masks on April 10th. He adds that the approval to the kits is granted only after samples clear stringent quality control of SITRA (South India Textile Research Association), an autonomous body in Coimbatore under the Union textile ministry. In the case of N-95 and N-99 masks, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) grants approval.

Aware of the vitality of personal protection equipment for healthcare professionals working on the frontline in containing COVID-19, #TridentGroup is developing Medical Suits. The team is continuously working with specialized yarns and finishes under the guidance of experts from the medical industry, taking all necessary preventive measures. With all the plans falling into the right place, it is prepared to produce 10,000 pieces of these medical suits per day.

Shinghora Textiles is making 1 lakh suits to be supplied to police and hospitals. “This is the time for industry to help the country and we are doing the best we can,” said Mridula Jain, owner of Shinghora Textiles. 

Shinghora Textiles, Evershine, Shiva Tex, Swamy Tex, Versatile Ludhiana have received SITRA approval to make PPE suits, Guru Kirpa Tex and Navyug Laminates are making the fabric for the PPEs.

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Even the khadi industry is doing its best and KVIC  is developing Double Layered Khadi Masks; Bags and has procured orders for supplying it in large quantities. To add to its success, KVIC has recently bagged an order to supply 7.5 lakh pieces of Khadi Masks to Jammu & Kashmir Government alone in which 5 lakh masks will be supplied to Jammu district, one lakh forty thousand to Pulwama district, one lakh to Udhampur district and 10,000

 Chairman KVIC Shri V.K. Saxena said that  “KVIC is specifically  using Double Twisted Khadi fabric for manufacturing of these masks as it helps retain 70% of the moisture content inside, while providing an easy passage for the air to pass through, hence  proving to be  the best easily available, pocket friendly alternative Face Masks.

The Anatomy of making masks and PPE kits

Masks are personal protective devices which if used correctly would protect the user from contracting Seasonal Influenza or for that matter, any other aerosol/droplet borne/air-borne infection.

At the present time many companies / hospitals / Govt. Authorities are buying surgical masks due to the COVID-19 outbreak without knowing much about the type, quality & risk of product.

Types of Masks Being Produced

Respirators: Respirators block 95% to 99.97% of airborne particles. They are tight fitting and prevent inhalation of smaller infectious particles that can spread through the air over long distances after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Respirators cannot be used by individuals.

Use: Medical and nursing staff Involved in critical care in ICU rooms and Personnel working in laboratories handling clinical samples related to COVID / Influenza.

Surgical Mask: A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. While a surgical mask may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets. They are not designed to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne bacteria or virus particles and are less effective than respirators.

Use: health Professionals during surgery and nursing.

Face Masks: Face masks are used more commonly for respiratory viruses that spread via droplets, which travel short distances and are transmitted by cough or sneeze. Face masks often fit loosely and prevent the wearer from spreading large sprays and droplets, as well as preventing hand-to-face contact.

Use: Everyone should wear Face mask in public.

Quality Norms for Making Masks

Quality of the mask is also more important it is mainly depending on who is going to use that mask like medical staff, nursing staff, general public etc.

The quality of masks should be carefully checked to prevent defective products from making it to the market, including checking for flaws such as embedded hair or stains, measuring the width of the mask, checking for the presence of straps, and determining that the straps are correctly attached to the mask etc.

The mask is tested as final product and must comply with the different requirements.

The Quality and classification of masks is based on the results of the following tests.
  • Bacteria filtration efficiency – This test ensures the mask can catch the percentage of bacteria it is supposed to.
  • Particle Filtration Efficiency – This test ensures the mask can filter the size of the particle it is supposed to.
  • Breathability – To ensure the mask will hold its shape and have proper ventilation while the wearer breathes
  • Splash resistance. – To ensure the liquid (Blood) cannot penetrate and contaminate the wearer.
  • Flammability – To measure how slowly it catches the fire and how long the material takes to burn.

India gets nod to export PPE and Masks

India to export $1 billion worth non-medical, non-surgical masks in three months:

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman Dr A Sakthivel sincerely thanked the Government for allowing the export of all types of non-medical and non-surgical masks (cotton, silk, wool, knitted) saying that the decision will further boost the production of masks in the country.

“I whole heartedly thank Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Commerce Minister Shri Piyush Goyal and our Minister of Textiles Smt Smriti Zubin Irani for amending the export policy of masks. I thank the DGFT as well for bringing out this Notification, which is a very timely and opportune amendment for the Apparel Exporting Industry.

“There is a huge opportunity for Indian Apparel manufacturers for export of such masks. Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his opening remarks on 12 May 2020, while addressing the Nation has laid emphasis on a self-reliant India and this is the time for our Apparel Exporting Industry to prove him correct and make India proud by demonstrating that India is a Global Sourcing Hub for the entire world,” Dr Sakthivel said.

“Hon’ble Minister of Textiles Smt Smriti Zubin Irani and Respected Secretary Textiles Shri Ravi Capoor have indeed represented the cause of Apparel Exporting Industry and have stood by their exporting-members once again,” he said.

“There is a huge demand for the export of these products and the AEPC has already identified the international markets for these non-medical and non-surgical masks. The Council assures the Government that it will ensure exports of these items to the tune of US$ 1 billion within the next three months,” Dr Sakthivel added.

AEPC has taken the lead in the matter to represent the cause of the Industry and its demand and the Government has responded with speed in bringing out this much-needed amendment, the Chairman said.

Raw material details and specification’s of six layered HYPASHIELD FACE MASK  :

  • First layer – Air mesh material – outermost pre-filteration layer- filters coarser dust particles ,particulate matter, pollutant’s , dust , sand, smoke from factories, bushfire, vehicle’s
  • Second & fifth layer – Spun material- it is for droplet protection  & splash resistance ; that mask offers an exceptional protection for all of us
  • Third & fourth layer – World class melt blown material – filter’s 98.9 of bacteria of 3 micron sized bacteria and 0.3 micron sized particles
  • Sixth layer – poly cotton with anti-bacterial finish and moisture control.

How can you start making PPE KITS?

PPE coverall kits required for health professionals attending to infected patients in isolation wards and the Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Coveralls, or bodysuits, are glued at the seams using special tape and a sealing machine to prevent contaminants from getting in.  Sewing machines and other machines required for manufacturing making PPE coverall items include –

  1. Cutting machine – You need fabric cutting machines. You can use standard cutting machines, like straight knife cutting machines.
  2. Sewing machine – For joining coverall components (assembling parts) you need single needle lock stitch sewing machines. Alternatively, you can use overlock machines for joining parts. These machines are available with all garment manufacturers. “We are using the same line layout and sewing machines, we used to in making jumpsuits or baby rompers”, said by a PPE coverall manufacturer.
  3. Hot air seam sealing machine – This is a very important machine for ensuring PPE quality. After joining components, each seam needs to be sealed using a hot air sealing machine. One seam sealing machine can seal about 100-110 suits a day and costs about $5,000 (Rs 3.8 lakh) a unit. The PPE coveralls can be also made directly using the hot-air sealing machine, without pre-sewing of components.

Why hot air seam sealing?

When seam tape is heated up, the adhesive on the tape is activated. This activated tape is applied on the waterproof coating or lamination of the fabric seam under pressure. When cooled, a strong bond is formed between the tape and the seam. This bond is so strong that it will prevent pressurized water from penetrating the sewn seam. As a result, a waterproof seam is produced.

Innovations in Medical Textiles Now Faster

The COVID age has initiated the urgent need for antiviral fabrics opening up as a whole new chapter for the development of antimicrobial surfaces that now take center stage in the ongoing armory of PPE, a term that we are now all-too-familiar with.

What was once a requirement predominantly for the medical profession is now set to cross into the general apparel sector—and beyond. Offering protective garments and accessories within the fashion sector makes perfect sense, as it does for the décor industry. Traction is growing, and it is about to become big business. As such, it offers the print industry a whole host of new opportunities.

In Switzerland, in the last month, HeiQ launched HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03, an antiviral and antibacterial textile chemical compound that is added to the fabric during the final stage of the textile manufacturing process. This patent pending formulation claims to have strong antimicrobial effects against bacteria and enveloped viruses.

It is also suitable for washable fabrics, because the treatment remains effective for up to 30 gentle washes. It has been tested to ISO 20743 for rapid antiviral effect.

Sonovia Non-Contact Coating

In Israel, the Sonovia Group, has developed patents both for chemicals and finishing processes. Last June, it received patents for its non-contact process that uses a sustainable and safe ultrasonic antibacterial coating method, which can treat any type of fabric. The technique uses a binderless formulation in a unique application process called “cavitation,” which imparts a greatly improved performance to the fabric, which is now able to withstand up to 100 hard washes before the coating deteriorates

IIT Guhwati Spray Coating for PPE

In India, the IIT at Guhwati have filed for a patent for their metal-based chemical spray which they say is cheap and effective. Silver and copper nanoparticles are combined in an antiviral cocktail to limit viral penetration and reduce the risk of secondary transmission and infection. The compound can be sprayed or dip-coated onto textiles and provides a dynamic and consistent protection against coronavirus transmission.

India now making 4.5 lakh ppe kits everyday-centre

Garment Manufacturing units in all hubs Doing Mass Production of PPE’s & Masks

Be it Noida, Gurgoan, Ludhiana in North, Bangalore and Tirupur in South or Mumbai in West almost all garment manufacturing hubs are converting their current production lines to produce the most desirable product for today’s time the PPE and masks. As per SITRA almost 172 units in India are making PPE and mask in good volumes. According to the government’s own documents, containment of a cluster — lasting a month or two in a population of 100,000 — may require 2 million triple layer masks, 200,000 gloves, 100,000 N-95 masks and about 50,000 PPE kits

The World Health Organisation had called on industry and governments to increase manufacturing of PPE by 40% to meet rising global demand.

As a result there is an increased demand for production of PPE and masks and garment making companies have almost all the ingredients to be able to start production within few days. With the kind of  knowledge and expertise in making high quality products for international markets the garment export community can definitely levarge the opportunity and save themselves from getting completely burned by the impact of covid 19.

PPE kit is made of laminated non-woven fabric, which will be light and water-repellent. It can be synthetic and blood-penetration resistant. Besides, it should good air permeability.

“The seams of PPE kits are covered by special sealing tape, which effectively blocks viruses, bacteria and micro-organisms. Meeting ISO16603 class 3 exposure pressure, the PPE kits are of high strength and tensity, which can be used by medical staff at isolation and quarantine wards, as such kits help health care workers protect themselves from the deadly virus,” he said

Companies could also explore emerging product categories such as medical textiles (surgical gloves, personal protective masks, gowns, wipes, etc.) and other textile items required for healthcare facilities like hospital bedsheets, mattresses etc. With countries’ increased focus on healthcare, medical textiles is likely to see a surge in demand.

Shahlon Silk Industries, which manufactures and exports fabrics and synthetic textile yarn across the world, has received approval from South India Textile Research Association, to manufacture fabric meant for body coverall of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 pandemic, the firm said.

Shahlon has overall woven fabric manufacturing capacity of 42 million meter per annum.The capacity will cater to the augmented demand for PPE kits required for healthcare professionals attending to infected patients in isolation wards and intensive care units as well as other national healthcare services’ volunteers, the company said.

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Anil Kumar, deputy commissioner of the District Industries Centre (DIC), said that in Noida many firms have sought approval for making PPE kits and masks so far, and they will get approval in a couple of working days.

“Some of them have already got the approval and started the production of PPE kits and masks on a large scale. A company in the district is already making 50,000 kits per week. It will open a new unit in Sector 63 soon. After that, this company will start production of 1.5 lakh kits per week. All companies have been asked to supply the kits and masks, as per the government approved rates,” Kumar said.

Pallavi Agarwal, who runs a garment export company in Noida Phase 2 that has recently started making PPE kits, said that the garment companies will be able to earn only about 5% profit on a kit. “In the production of a ` 900 PPE kit, our workers will get ` 200 and the material, manufacturing and transportation cost will be around

` 625. We have started the production of kits so that workers can earn some money,” she said.

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