The material produced for the coveralls protects against infections but allows for air exchange, which is important for hospital workers who must wear PPE for long periods of time, according to the company.
The coveralls provide "breathability" from the pore structure in the material, which is produced by what the company describes as "a special calcium carbonate addition followed by a stretching process" referred to as Reifenhäuser EVO Ultra Stretch.
The line pilot at the tech center is mostly used for machine demos and customer trials, but the company wanted to help a customer manufacturing PPE, Despain added.
"We ran 110 metric tons of material, which is good for 1.2 million coveralls," he said. "We have stopped production now as this will help our customer until his line is installed and running."
Reifenhäuser is seeing a large increase in demand for machines built by both its non-woven Reicofil brand and blown film groups.
"We have shifted things around internally to keep up with the demand and have hired additional personnel, but deliveries are increasing," Despain said. "The largest challenge will be to get all the new machines started up and installed, but we have plans for this as well."
This was Reifenhäuser's second contribution to the supply of PPE. In March, the company had temporarily produced meltblown, a nonwoven fabric made of extremely fine melt-spun microfibers, for face masks.
"We produced the material in our tech center and sent it to several converters to make into masks," Despain said. "We are no longer making the material, at least for now."