Cross-Sector Cooperation for the Common Good
Gronau/Nürtingen/Germany, April 16, 2020 – Maintaining the health system and protecting medical and nursing staff are among the most important and urgent tasks during the current Corona pandemic. The film manufacturer RKW, Sporlastic, a company specialized on the production of bandages and orthoses, the Gherzi Consulting Group as well as other partners have therefore combined their expertise and capacities to jointly produce urgently needed FFP-2 type protective masks.
The RKW Group is participating in the production of FFP-2 protective masks with a laminate made of spunbonded nonvoven fabric from the Gronau Site. In less than two weeks, the FIGHT consortium, to which the RKW Group supplies, succeeded in developing masks from first draft to certification and market readiness.
Production has been running at full speed for a few days now, with the aim of achieving a weekly capacity of around 750,000 masks. "The current COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for society as a whole, which we are meeting with our resources and expertise. We are very pleased and proud that we have been able to successfully participate in the development and production of the urgently needed protective masks within a very short period of time," says Harald Biederbick, Chairman of the Executive Board of the RKW Group based in Frankenthal. The closest partner in the production of the protective masks is Sporlastic GmbH in Nürtingen: "This venture was only possible thanks to maximum agility and teamwork of all participants,” says Dr. Timo Schmeltzpfenning, Head of Research & Development at Sporlastic.
The RKW spunbonded nonwoven is processed in Gronau into a laminate with meltblown material that meets the high demands on the filter material for FFP-2 masks. It must capture at least 94 percent of the particles in the air down to a size of 0.6 micrometers - for comparison: the COVID-19-triggering coronavirus is bound in water droplets averaging around 1 micrometer in size.
The first production batch will be delivered to the first client, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration of Germany’s federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Further public sector clients are currently in negotiation with the consortium.
The RKW Group
The RKW Group is an independent, privately owned company headquartered in Frankenthal, Germany and one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of excellent film solutions. RKW is the market leader in the areas of hygiene and agricultural films, films for the beverage industry and packaging for powdery goods. In addition, the company makes films and nonwovens for medical applications, for the chemical and converting industries as well as for the construction sector. RKW’s sustainable films enable its customers to improve the daily life of consumers all over the world.
In the fiscal year 2019, RKW generated total sales of USD 930 million. About 3,000 employees process more than 776,000 million lbs. of plastic materials at 20 locations around the world. True to the corporate slogan “When excellence matters”, the company, which was founded in 1957, offers outstanding performance in terms of quality and service. Respect and reliability are the core values of RKW and form the basis of the company’s success.
Stephan De Maria
Manager Communications RKW Group