ATIRA is developing the cloth material for preparation of five lakh ‘N-99 masks’, which it says would be better in quality than the N-95 masks that have been in huge demand of late in the fight against coronavirus.
While the N-95 respirator is able to filter 95 percent of the very small airborne particles, the efficiency of the N-99 mask to filter such particles will be 99 percent.The Ahmedabad-based textile research association claims it is the only facility in the country to produce filter cloth for N-99 masks.The N-99 mask has five layers out of which two are of nano mesh which are inside and three outerlayers are of cloth, he said.
“Currently, the filter cloth is manufactured at a state-of-the-art facility of ATIRA as per the WHO guidelines.The Government of India and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have recognised the efficiency of these masks, Shah said.
The high quality cloth for over 3.5 lakh masks has already been handed over to DRDO, while production of more such material is going on, said ATIRA deputy director Deepali Palawat, who is heading the project.”This project is the finest example of collaboration and coordination with the government. It was difficult to procure raw materials during the lockdown. The government has moved mountains to help us procure the raw materials and provided full support during the lockdown,” she said.
Palawat said it was difficult to convert the research centre into a production unit but a 15-member ATIRA staff, including scientific officers and technicians, are working round-the-clock to fulfil DRDO’s order of five lakh masks.”The DRDO is getting these masks ready for health ministry officials, doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and top defence cadre, she said.
“We are happy that we are able to help the Indian government and people during such unprecedented times. Our partnership with DRDO has yielded something noteworthy for the country,” ATIRA council member Punit Lalbhai said. ATIRA is a renowned body set up here in 1947 by textile mills as an autonomous non-profit R&D institution. Its activities cover various aspects, from fibre to finished fabrics in traditional textiles as well as technical textiles in the arena of geo-textiles, nano web technology and composites, as per the association’s website.