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Berry Announces Initiatives to Help Address Global Supply Shortage of Face Mask Materials

  • Increases U.S. Meltblown Capacity for Face Mask Material
  • Introduces Innovation for new Face Mask Media in Europe

Apr. 16, 2020-- Today, Berry Global Group, Inc. announced initiatives to increase production of face mask materials. The initiatives include the Company designating additional capacity for the production of face mask materials in North America and introducing a new material for face masks in Europe. With demand outpacing current supply for face mask filter media, the product development team at Berry has responded to deliver innovative solutions in a matter of weeks to support the demand. These solutions include pivoting existing manufacturing assets and creating alternative materials for face masks.

Additional capacity for North America

To address the ever increasing demand for face mask material in the United States, Berry has expanded its proprietary Meltex platform to add meltblown capacity in Waynesboro, Virginia. This capacity was quickly converted from a pilot line into one which provides full commercial output. The line will make meltblown materials which will ultimately be used in surgical-grade face masks along with N95 and N99 respirators. This added capacity will support the manufacturing of approximately 200 million face masks annually.

In addition to its Waynesboro facility, Berry has a number of North American nonwovens manufacturing facilities which are rapidly producing materials that help protect against the spread of COVID-19. The added capacity in Waynesboro is complementary to the Company’s existing portfolio, producing incremental output of high-performing, surgical-grade materials serving the North American market.

New face mask material for Europe

Berry also launched an extension to its Synergex range of products, Synergex ONE, a new media for face mask applications. Developed to initially meet the new face mask categories for general population, the aim is to quickly bring the media up to EN 14683:2019 standards for surgical masks. The newly introduced Synergex ONE provides a multilayer nonwoven composite product in a single sheet, as an alternative to traditional face mask layer structures. This new material will be manufactured in Europe and serve the European market and is available immediately.

“This was something that was of paramount importance in the short term development,” said Cedric Ballay EVP & GM for Europe in Health, Hygiene, and Specialties for Berry. “Given the array of materials currently being offered to the market, we are offering an alternative solution to the traditional charged meltblown. We are now continuing to push on with the development to be able to pass BFE Type I and Type II testing with this media.”

Berry is known for its high-end filtration media that goes into FFP2 (N95) and FFP3 (N99) masks. With these high-end filtration media lines now sold out until after summer, it was critical to develop alternative solutions to address the many requests received by the Company.

Leader in nonwovens for healthcare

A global leader in the supply of nonwoven material for surgical-grade infection prevention products, Berry says it is working to create as much capacity, maximize output, and develop innovative solutions to aid in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Through the addition of Synergex ONE and the commercialization of the Meltex asset, Berry is quickly pivoting to provide solutions for markets around the world.

Berry Global Group, Inc. is a leading global supplier of a broad range of innovative rigid, flexible, and nonwoven products used every day within consumer and industrial end markets. Berry has over 48,000 employees and generated $12.6 billion of pro forma net sales in fiscal year 2019, from operations that span over 290 locations on six continents.

Source: Berry