German companies team up for the development of reusable face masks
Initiated by weaving machine manufacturer Lindauer DORNIER, the German Institute of Textile & Fibre Research is launching a project to develop reusable medical face masks based on high-precision air jet weaving technology.
While the common protective masks are made of non-woven fabric and thrown away after having been used once, the German researchers are focusing on „ready-to-wear” one-piece masks made of high-performance fabric woven in Jacquard weaving technique.
This initiative also comprises other industrial partners from the Baden-Wuerttemberg region and the Hohenstein Test Institute. The project, together with two other outstanding corona projects, was selected from 120 applications submitted nationwide and is supported by the German Ministry of Economy, Labour and Housing with 195.000 Euro.
Lindauer DORNIER is providing the necessary air-jet weaving machines, Stäubli AG is the project partner for the Jacquard weaving technology. Global Safety Textiles has agreed to support the project regarding the complex warp beam production and the drawing-in of the warp threads, while TWD Fibres supplies antimicrobial filament yarns and textured yarns for the prototypes and the start-up production.
Another project partner is the cleaning company Textilpflege Mayer, which cooperates with the Ortenau Clinic in Offenburg to evaluate the cleanliness of masks. The testing of the masks according to the specifications of EN 14683 is carried out by the Hohenstein Test Institute.
The project focuses on the technical design of the woven face mask, which is to be made available for production to the 15 textile companies in Europe which operate a total of more than 200 Jacquard weaving machines.
The production settings of the masks developed at the DITF can be immediately transferred to existing production facilities. This would enable the 15 weaving mills to jointly produce over 2 million masks per day at short notice. The German region of Baden-Wuerttemberg intends to become independent of supplies from Asia.
According to initial calculations, the manufacturing costs are 6-8 cents/mask and thus provide a realistic basis for mass production.