Colback Nonwovens has helped to solve the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. In a public/private enterprise, Low & Bonar’s Colback production site in the Netherlands offered its support after a call from the Dutch government. Colback nonwovens are now included as a reinforcement layer in FFP2-certified medical face masks. The masks themselves are produced by AFPRO Filters, located in the Netherlands. Though both companies were new to the face mask business, they made it happen within a short time period.
As in many other countries, the Netherlands was confronted with a global shortage of PPE as COVID 19 spread across the continents. Called upon by the Dutch Minister of Health and Sports, a unique public/private consortium came to existence, with selected Dutch companies invited to join and serve a single purpose: the realization of large-scale, nonprofit-based production of health protection items within the country. Low & Bonar and AFPRO Filters became part of this consortium and started to work on medical face masks together; both companies deliver at cost price. The consortium distributes the medical masks evenly or wherever the need in national healthcare institutions is greatest.
“Although neither of us had ventured into face masks before, we could build on long-standing expertise within our fields and believed we could make it work”, said Low & Bonar business development manager Edgar Berkhout.
“We experienced a high degree of flexibility among all involved: engineering, production, planning and deliveries,” said Niels Berkhout, supply chain director at AFPRO Filters. “So much technical knowledge was made available to us and always at short notice. Together we were able to overcome all the obstacles along the way.”
Colback is a spunbond nonwoven. Its role in the FFP2-approved face mask is reinforcement. As an intermediate layer the product provides the necessary sturdiness to the masks, keeping them in shape and place during wear. The product is suitable for ultrasonic welding, and it cuts without fraying or curling.
Colbond is the manufacturer of Colback nonwovens and is a division of Low & Bonar, since May 2020 a company of Freudenberg Performance Materials.