Contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading to soaring cases and deaths around the world. Taking the proper precautions is crucial during these times to prevent contracting the virus. To curb the spread, governments have imposed broad based measures including requiring the general public to wear face masks when they go outside. In countries where restrictions are gradually lifted, the general use of face mask requirements for civilian personnel and passengers on public transport, is now also considered as a preventive measure to reduce the spread of the infection.
Wearing a face mask does not provide 100% guarantee of avoiding infection as viruses can also be transmitted through the eyes, and even the smallest particles such as aerosols, may penetrate the masks. A properly worn protective face mask helps to catch airborne droplets, sprays and splatters, which is a transmission route of COVID-19. Face masks are in most cases for single-use, and once used, must be disposed of and replaced with a new one, driving an explosion in demand by the healthcare industry and general public.
For decades, Ahlstrom-Munksjö has been developing nonwoven fabrics that are used, among other things, to construct protective medical fabrics such as surgical gowns and drapes, pleated surgical face masks, protective apparel and sterile barrier systems. These high performing medical fabrics are used around the world in surgical and clinical environments to protect health care workers and patients against viruses, bacteria and fluids. Ahlstrom-Munksjö has been producing the inner and outer coverstock used for pleated surgical face masks. The middle filter media was something Ahlstrom-Munksjö did not produce until recently. Thanks to Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s in-depth knowledge of fiber-based solutions and common manufacturing platform Ahlstrom-Munksjö has been able to expand manufacturing of face mask fabrics to lines normally used for producing other fiber-based materials. Nowadays, its offering includes a full range of protective face mask fabrics for civil-, surgical and respiratory masks.