Berry Global Group Inc. is adding capacity to help combat the COVID-19 crisis, which has been an impetus for plastics businesses to dive into medical supplies.
Berry announced on March 31 it has moved forward on an investment to add additional specialty meltblown assets to help produce high-efficiency filtration media serving Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently declared parts of the plastics industry "essential critical infrastructure," including single-use plastics.
The commercial production is slated to start in June in response to meet increased demand and customer growth in N95 and N99 facemasks and cabin air filtration markets.
Evansville, Ind.-based Berry is the largest manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics and is one of the world's leading plastic packaging suppliers. Products they make are used in face masks and other personal protective equipment for health care workers to packaging for food preservation and disinfecting products.
Cedric Ballay, Berry's Europe vice president and general manager for health, hygiene and specialties, said that as a market leader Berry "had been planning to add more capacity shortly after our latest investment in Asia came on line. The opportunity to support the fight against COVID-19 accelerated our decision. Our ability to be agile will benefit our customers and our communities."
The new line will be equipped with Berry's proprietary charging technology for optimal filtration efficiency and pressure drops.
Berry previously announced an expansion across Europe and the U.S. to produce wipes on March 10. The company shifted capacity to supply the most output in response to demand for these health care items.