DSM
Launch of open platform for Covid-19 solutions / Production of masks and nose swabs for Dutch government
DSM (Heerlen / The Netherlands; www.dsm.com) has launched the digital platform “Unite4Covid” (www.uniteforcovid.org) that acts as an e-marketplace to share designs, production capacity and materials, among other things. The idea is to funnel all this information to create solutions for healthcare professionals in the efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Partners in the project include plastics producers such as Dow, Solvay and Westlake Chemical, distributor Nexeo Plastics, many 3D printing companies as well as research institutions and universities.

In the Netherlands, DSM has partnered with compatriots Afpro Filters (Alkmaar; www.afprofilters.com) and mattress specialist Auping (Deventer; www.auping.nl) to set up the large-scale manufacturing of medical FFP2 masks for healthcare workers. The production is intended to meet approximately 25% of the national demand for masks. At the end of April, production lines were being set up in Alkmaar and Deventer for the production of 1m FFP2 masks per week. These masks are handmade by Auping in accordance with government guidelines. The first batch of masks were earmarked to be delivered to the Landelijk Consortium Hulpmiddelen (LCH), which organises distribution to hospitals and health care institutions.

Dutch minister for medical care Martin van Rijn holds the first box of masks delivered to the Landelijk Consortium Hulpmiddelen (Photo: Martin van Rijn)
Afpro brings to the consortium its expertise of air filtration systems, Auping contributes its production capacity for the manufacture of fabrics and DSM brings its materials. Minister of economic affairs Eric Wiebes said, “The enormous willingness of the business community to contribute to the fight against coronavirus is an important ray of hope at this exceptional time.”

DSM has also started manufacturing the nose swabs to aid the shortage of Covid-19 test kits in the Netherlands. According to DSM, the swabs normally used in the Netherlands are manufactured in China and Italy, however because of a global shortage as well as to be less dependent on international supply chains, the Dutch health ministry made a request to DSM to manufacture the swabs. In collaboration with the health ministry, LCH and other local companies and healthcare experts, DSM set up a swab production chain in two weeks.

Injection moulding is used to manufacture millions of the plastic swabs for test kits in the Netherlands. The group is to produce enough swabs to meet domestic testing needs for the next three months from May. DSM is donating around 11 t of material to make the swabs.

DSM’s other contributions to fighting Covid-19 include
  • donating nearly 390,000 litres of disinfectant to Dutch health care institutions
  • creating a 3D-printed design for mask straps as an alternative to the elastic straps that are in short supply and currently used on masks
  • developing 3D-printed moulds for large-scale production of coronavirus test kits
  • investigating the scale-up of advanced materials for medical aprons and breathing equipment
  • deploying laboratory facilities in Delft to sterilise used medical protective equipment
  • collecting existing stock of medical masks from all its locations in the Netherlands and donating it to the Dutch government, with the remaining stock being sufficient for employees to continue working safely in DSM’s labs and at production sites
29.05.2020 Plasteurope.com [245060-0]
Published on 29.05.2020

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Date of print: 27.02.2021 16:45:03   (Ref: 295233291)
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