Industrial-scale testing for new PPE finishes

In the current fight against Covid-19, a number of formulators of textile finishing chemicals have rushed out new antiviral and antimicrobial treatments intended for PPE (personal protective equipment) such as face masks and medical gowns and drapes.

These finishing chemicals have naturally already been thoroughly tested in laboratories and their effectiveness verified at laboratory or pilot scale. However, they are new to many manufacturers of textiles and nonwovens now preparing to use them on an industrial level.

“We know that in this current, unprecedented situation, many of our customers are rapidly preparing to transition from their usual manufacturing programmes to the production of PPE items,” says Klaus Heinrichs, vice-president at Monforts. “Some, such as Trident and Welspun in India, which both operate a number of our machinery ranges, have already embarked on new PPE production programmes.

“We have experts on hand at our operational Advanced Technology Centre (ATC) here in Germany, to help any of our customers to rapidly transition to new finishing techniques and treatments they may not be familiar with, and to run trials on their behalf, should they require this assistance.”

The three lines at the ATC situated at the Monforts HQ in Mönchengladbach, are of a true industrial scale and trialling new products on them goes beyond lab or pilot plant testing to rapidly identify any problems that might occur once full production is underway.

Since its opening in 2013, over €3 million has been invested in equipment at the Monforts ATC, which over an area of 1,200 square metres houses two full finishing lines, engineered to accommodate an extremely diverse range of processes and based around the industry-leading Montex stenter, in addition to a Thermex range for the continuous dyeing and the newly developed process of yarn dyeing. Recent expansions have included the installation of the latest Monforts Montex®Coat coating system, with which it is possible to operate in seven different application modes in s single machine.

The Monforts teleservice team is also fully available as normal to help customers via remote service on trouble shooting issues.

“We congratulate those customers who are doing all within their power to combat this pandemic that is having such a devastating impact globally,” Mr Heinrichs concludes. “We are here to support them in any way we can and put our services and know-how at their disposal.”