Australia-based OZ Health Plus has chosen spunbond and meltblown equipment from Germany-based Oerlikon Nonwoven for its new production plant, which will be the first such facility in Australia for making these nonwovens. Up until now, Australia’s face mask producers have had to rely on overseas fabric sources, and access to the materials has been affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plant has capacity to produce enough meltblown fabrics for 500 million masks per year in addition to other medical and non-medical grade nonwovens. The Oz Health meltblown plant is scheduled to start up in April next year, with a second stage planned for late 2021.
“Australia has access to raw polypropylene feedstock but lacks the plant to convert that raw material to specialized spunbond and meltblown fabrics,” said OZ Health Plus director Darren Fooks. “These fabrics are essential for local mask manufacturing. The Australian-based Oerlikon Nonwoven plant will fill the production chain gap for Australia by producing the fabrics we need for mask production and many other products — it will reduce Australia’s protective mask supply chain from thousands of kilometers, to tens of kilometers.”