Berry Global Group Addresses Global Shortage Of Face Mask Materials

To address the ever increasing demand for face mask material in the U.S., Berry has expanded its Meltex™ platform to add capacity in Waynesboro, VA.

Last month, Berry Global Group, Inc. announced strategic initiatives to increase production of face mask materials. The initiatives include designating additional capacity for the production of face mask materials in North America and introducing a new material for face masks in Europe. With demand outpacing current supply for face mask filter media, the product development team at Berry responded to deliver innovative solutions in a matter of weeks to support the demand. These solutions include pivoting existing manufacturing assets and creating alternative materials for face masks.

Waynesboro, VA
(Photo: Berry Global Group, Inc.)

To address the ever increasing demand for face mask material in the U.S., Indiana-based Berry has expanded its proprietary Meltex™ platform to add meltblown capacity in Waynesboro, VA. This capacity was quickly converted from a pilot line into one which provides full commercial output. The line makes meltblown materials which are used in surgical-grade face masks along with N95 and N99 respirators. This added capacity supports 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 the company’s existing portfolio, producing incremental output of high-performing, surgical-grade materials serving the North American market.

In Europe, Berry launched an extension to its Synergex™ range of products, Synergex ONE, a new media for face mask applications. Developed to initially meet the new face mask categories for general population, 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. 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 & GM 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.”

Berry is well known for its high-end filtration media that goes into FFP2 (N95) and FFP3 (N99) masks. With these high-end filtration media lines now sold out until after summer, it was critical to develop alternative solutions to address the many requests received by the Company.

As a global leader in the supply of nonwoven material for surgical-grade infection prevention products, Berry is diligently working to create as much capacity, maximize output, and develop innovative solutions to aid in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Through the addition of Synergex ONE and the commercialization of the Meltex asset, Berry is quickly pivoting to provide innovative and timely solutions for markets around the world.

Submitted by Waynesboro Economic Development.

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