Geleen - Dutch PPE Solutions, the joint venture of Royal DSM and VDL Groep, has begun the sustainable production of virus filtering material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks in a newly built factory in Geleen, the Netherlands.
Dutch PPE Solutions is the first to deliver professional facemasks with the critical filter layer made entirely on Dutch soil with the company hoping that the joint venture will make Europe less dependent on supplies from overseas.
The high-quality meltblown polypropylene fabric is made from bio-based feedstock - used cooking oil - and the manufacturing line runs on renewable electricity. Dutch PPE Solutions’ ambition is to produce the most sustainable filter material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks.
The facility in Geleen was built in record-time. From idea, planning, construction, building and testing to large-scale production took only months, three times faster than regular lead times. The first facemasks from Dutch PPE Solutions were delivered in January 2021, containing filter material from a non-Dutch supplier. Now, meltblown polypropylene filter material from Dutch PPE Solutions is also available to other customers in Europe.
DSM and VDL joined forces in September 2020 to meet the urgent need to diversify the global production and supply chains of personal protective equipment at scale by reducing dependency on a small number of international sources.
The companies invested several million euros in manufacturing equipment to produce facemasks and in the new manufacturing facility for meltblown polypropylene. The joint venture employs dozens of people in its production locations in Geleen and Helmond, the Netherlands.
Dutch IIR facemask manufacturer MedProtex is Dutch PPE Solutions’ first customer of meltblown polypropylene. Cyrille Depondt, CEO MedProtex said: “To establish a sustainable, transparent and futureproof production chain of personal protection equipment, it is crucial to have access to raw materials close to home. The opening of the factory for high-quality critical filter material in Geleen is a testimony to entrepreneurship and a proofpoint for making our Dutch and European infrastructure more resilient for future pandemics. At MedProtex we believe in short, sustainable chains and transparency. Dutch PPE Solutions delivers just that. That’s why we decided to use their meltblown polypropylene filter material in our products. This powerful collaboration is Made in Holland and creates multiple value on economic, social and ecological level.”
Pieter Wolters, Vice President DSM Innovation Business Building and Member of the Dutch PPE Solutions Board added: “The initial goal between DSM and VDL was to help when it was most needed and immediate actions were necessary in the fight against COVID-19. We learned during the early months of the pandemic what the risks are of full dependency of overseas suppliers and that a partial capacity of local manufacturing will provide better health and safety for the future. We promised we would do something about it and now we deliver. With the Geleen-based meltblown polypropylene production facility and the facemask production lines in Helmond we secured a Western European supply of facemasks and critical facemask components. Thereby we provide robust and reliable high-quality personal protection equipment to the healthcare workers and the population.”