Inside the Face Mask Factory
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for surgical face masks has surged. In particular, Type IIR surgical masks are needed by our wonderful NHS and other frontline workers thanks to their high Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) and the fact that they are splash-resistant. But how can we make these mask in a way that is efficient enough to meet the sudden demand while maintaining their high standards?
Take a look inside the UK’s first manufacturing facility to produce Type IIR face masks and see how we do it…
Step 1 – Layering the Face Mask Materials
Our face masks are produced using entirely automated machinery in order to reduce opportunities for manual error. In the first stage, the three fabric layers of the mask are fed into the machine. These are fed from three reels, each weighing around 30kg and are enough to make over 6,000 masks at a time.
The materials then pass through a reel which folds them over and creates that distinctive pleat on the front of the face mask. The pleat is really important in helping the mask form neatly around the wearer’s face.
The nose wire is also fed into the machine via a reel. It is cut to size and rolled into the top hem of the face mask after it has been pleated.
To complete the main body of the mask, the layers are ultra-sonically welded together. This is a process that uses sound to weld the materials together and, when you look at the face mask, you’ll be able to see the dots running along each of the edges – this is where the ultra-sonic welding has taken place.
Step 2 – Adding Ear Loops
For the next stage of the process, the mask is flipped onto one of two conveyor belts and it heads off to have the ear loops attached.
The reason the masks are split between two different conveyor belts is because the ear loops attachment process isn’t as fast as the pleating process. So by having two ear loop channels to only one pleating channel, we can ensure that production continues to run smoothly without any bottlenecks.
When the masks go into the ear looping section, the elastic is stretched and cut to length, and then ultra-sonically welded onto the masks.
Finally, the masks are automatically stacked to be checked by a machine minder.
The Perfect Environment for Face Mask Production
All our masks are produced in a clean room environment. We have built specialist rooms which, aside from being constructed with specialist materials, they also have very rigorous cleaning process. This is vital to making sure that the product doesn’t come into contact with contaminates. The rooms also have special air filtration systems which ensure the air is clean and operators must always wear specialist, protective equipment when inside a clean room.
Our masks are made to meet EN14683 standards so that we can provide our frontline workers with the masks they need to keep our country running. You can order a regular supply of these masks for you and your team using our subscription service, starting from only £12.50 a month.