LOSSBURG, Germany—Arburg GmbH & Co. is injection molding liquid silicone rubber and polypropylene masks for its employees worldwide and medical facilities near its headquarters in Lossburg.
The company says it has the capacity to produce 3,500 multifunctional high-tech masks per day to address the critical shortage of personal protection equipment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arburg officials describe the product as having a soft LSR mask that is put over the nose and mouth and a firm PP shield with eyelets for attaching elastic bands. In the middle, there is a standardized connection with a hole. The opening is sealed with a flow gate, which will be fitted with a filter housing.
Arburg is working with partners and getting ready to produce the filter components. By using certain filters (FFP2 or FFP3), Arburg says the face masks will protect against COVID-19 and be suitable for use by nurses and doctors.
Production started May 11 with a goal of ramping up to 15,000 a week.
The project comes on the heels of another effort to mold PPE. In April, the company used its Allrounder injection molding machines to make safety glasses.
"We are involved in various aid initiatives and also (pushing) internal company projects, such as this face mask. The demand is enormous," Gerhard Boehm, Arburg managing sales director, said in a statement. "We are receiving specific requests from hospitals and nursing homes from all over the region."
For the mask project, Arburg is using two electric injection molding machines: An Allrounder 570 A with a clamping force of 2,000 kN produces the LSR masks at the Arburg Training Center with a 4-cavity mold from Polar-Form; and an Allrounder 470 E Golden Electric with a clamping force of 1,000 kN and a 2-cavity mold from Foboha produces the PP shields at its customer center.
The larger injection molding machine operates with a six-axis robot from Kuka that removes the masks from the mold and places them on a conveyor belt. In the second machine, the PP shields are handled by a linear Multilift Select robotic system. Finally, the PP shield is manually placed on the silicone mask and the product is completed with elastic bands and packed.