UFI Filters, a leader in the filtration and thermal management sectors, brings its experience to the study and development of new filter media. The production of the latest-generation materials will be used for the manufacture of masks and personal protective equipment.
In Italy, and specifically at the plant in Marcaria in the province of Mantua, lies the hub of expertise and production of the filter material meltblown by UFI Filters, a company long recognised for the excellence of its products.
Also, in Italy, at the UFI Innovation Centre in Ala di Trento, filtering media, products and many other new projects of the UFI Filters Group are being developed in collaboration with the leading Italian Universities. The non-woven fabric (NWF) materials produced by the company have been recognised and certified by the Polytechnic University of Milan as being among the best on the market for filtering performance.
The UFI Filters surgical masks, named the ‘Medical Mask’, have achieved ‘Class A’ in the classification of the Polytechnic University of Milan for three fundamental characteristics: bacterial filtration efficiency, particulate filtration efficiency and breathability. The bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of UFI masks, as tested by the Polytechnic University of Milan, is greater than 99%, according to EN 14683:2019; at 75%, the particulate filtration efficiency (PFE) is also excellent; moreover, the masks produced by UFI Filters are not only among the best in terms of protection, but also offer the best breathability, Δ P 35 Pa/cm2, once again according to EN 14683:2019.
UFI Filters' masks are made using a single, 45 gr/sqm layer of meltblown non-woven fabric, a thickness which is well above the average required for products that can guarantee adequate protection (the minimum requirement is 20 gr/sqm).
UFI Filters' non-woven meltblown fabric will be used in the production of both surgical masks – certified as medical devices – and FFP2 masks, the ‘UFI Mask Defender’, which qualify as personal protective equipment, and according to EN 149:2009, have a filtration efficiency > 95% at 0.6 micron. The latter are also certified under GB 2626-2006 for production in China.
The current production capacity of the UFI Filters plant in Italy stands at nearly 3 million square metres of meltblown per year. Production will be coordinated from this site, and will be partly designated for direct sales to supply other companies in the sector, and partly for the production of UFI-branded surgical masks, in various industrial sites of the UFI Filters Group worldwide. The total capacity for this type of product is 10 million masks per year.
But it's not just about Italy. UFI Filters, which, also, has always been renowned for its presence in China - where it now boasts six industrial sites - will place 12 million FFP2-type masks per year on the market; these will come directly from the UFI Filters Shanghai industrial site, thanks to a dedicated automated line.
The masks manufactured by UFI Filters will be on sale from July 2020 through the Aftermarket network, as well as through the network specialising in personal protective equipment (PPE). Meltblown material, on the other hand, is already being distributed, in order to supply other manufacturers of masks and to meet the significant demand during this period.
Giorgio Girondi, Chairman of the UFI Filters Group, comments: "We are proud to be able to make a contribution during this historic time. The effects of the COVID-19 emergency are being felt across the entire world, and the crisis is placing a major strain on stocks of medical materials and devices. With its expertise, UFI Filters is able to play a key role in meeting the enormous demand for certified high-quality products. We have also joined the POLImask initiative, "1 million masks to learn how to protect ourselves: the chain of solidarity comes to LIFE!". The campaign by the Polytechnic University of Milan is designed to inform and educate the public on the correct application of masks, and to combat the use of inappropriate and non-certified products. For this reason, we have donated some of our filter material to the project, which has seen voluntary associations in the Lombardy region packing and distributing masks to the population, in order to increase awareness on the importance of using appropriate devices.
Accordingly, UFI Filters confirms itself as the filtration specialist, not only within the automotive sector but also by opening up its expertise to the medical sector, with its ‘Medical Mask’ and ‘Mask Defender’ products.”
Rinaldo Facchini, CEO of the UFI Filters Group, affirms: "The role of filtration in ensuring personal safety and well-being is a new strategic goal for the company. The production of masks is only a beginning. The goal is to continue with the development and study of new products, making them an integral part of the company's business. We are thus recognised as a supplier of a comprehensive range of personal protective equipment and filter material. The first lots will be used to ensure the safety of our employees, who currently number nearly 4,000 worldwide, with a proportion also donated to the ‘Casa del Sole Onlus’ non-profit organisation in Mantua.”
Senior Account Manager DACH / UK