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The nanotechnology company SPUR a.s. launched a new line for respirators manufacturing

On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the company SPUR a.s. put a new fully automated line for FFP2 respirators into operation. While this one is at its launch, another line for face-masks manufacturing has already produced over 1mil face-masks. The plan of SPUR a.s. is to continue with investment into technology for personal protection equipment (PPE) manufacturing. Already in the upcoming summer, another line for respirators is to be installed. 

After a few days of test runs, the line for respirators has been put into a full operation. “Technical capacity of the line is 60 – 80 respirators per minute, which means 2 million pieces a month”, said the CEO Tomáš Dudák. “Within two months, we would like to launch a second line. That will make production of 4 million respirators per month possible.”

This size of this last investment has been over 7 million CZK. However, SPUR has already invested dozens of millions of CZK into manufacturing of PPE. “These lines are certainly not the only investment we had to make. Development of nano-fibre, equipment of laboratories for testing, two production lines for nano-fibre, manufacturing and ware-house facilities – all of these investments preceded the purchase of our lines for face masks and respirators,” explained Tomáš Dudák. He added, that thanks to a great cooperation with Ministry for Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and the Czech Occupational Safety Research Institute, it has been possible to proceed in a record time through a so called “shortened certification process”. This certification is for the moment sufficient for trading SPUR’s PPE products in the Czech Republic. An extended certification is in process and once that is complete, SPUR will be able to trade PPE across the European Union. Moreover, SPUR plans to submit FFP3 respirators for certification until the end of July. 

The SpurTex respirators contain a specific nano-membrane, a production of which was launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to its unique qualities, these FFP2 respirators have an extraordinary capacity of super-fine particles filtration (up to 98,5%). That means that particles of the coronavirus size also do get captured. “Constant efficiency with durability of up to 10 years is among products currently available in the market quite unique. It is common, that the life-cycle of PPE products is limited, based on material characteristics. While SpurTex’ efficiency is based on mechanical capturing of particles in a nano-fibre membrane, common protection materials work on the basis of electrical discharge, which, over time, naturally loses its potential and consequently lowers its filtration efficiency,” explains Tomáš Dudák and adds: “Thanks to this specific quality, SpurTex is ideal for long-term storage. We would like to take advantage of this characteristics and offer our products for example to material reserves of EU member-states, where equipment is stored for a long time and used only in times of crises.” 

Nevertheless, The Czech Administration of State Material Reserves (SSHR) office has opened a tender for FFP2 respirators, which does not take material durability into account. Their single requirement is a warranty period of 2 years. “Another important condition from SSHR’s tender is a possession of a complete certification, which disqualifies SPUR for participation in the tender. The certification process takes in the EU at least 4 months, so we would have to have started already in February. Of course, the same pays for all the other Czech manufacturers who have launched their production only recently,” explained Tomáš Dudák. He confirmed that the entry conditions for participants to the tender are extremely strict and for those with no production history impossible to match. “We can therefore assume, that for these purposes, respirators from Asia will yet again be purchased,” indicated Tomáš Dudák. 

The NANO-respirators SpurTex V100 FFP2 NR were put into retailing through an e-shop, so that final consumers also have the possibility to purchase these products.   

The company SPUR a.s. started its nano-fibre R&D process in 2006. As of 2012, SPUR has been manufacturing nanomaterials on self-made production lines. Since 2018, Research and Testing have been moved to the facilities of Thomas Bata University’s Centre of polymer systems (CPS) while the nano-fibre development and manufacturing remain in the SPUR premises. Large-scale production of nano-fibre was launched in March 2020, also thanks to consultations with Ministry of industry and Trade and the CzechInvest Agency. 

The PPE production program of SPUR comprises beside certified respirators also three types of NANO-facemasks. One type is manufactured on automated lines, while the other two types are sewn. They are materially based on 97% of natural viscose. Thanks to that, breathing through is much more comfortable, they adhere to face very well and thus provide a maximum protection against viruses and bacteria. The difference between the last two types is in their size – adult and junior. 

About SPUR a.s. 

Since its foundation in 1992, the company operates in the sector of plastic manufacturing. Its own R&D and customers’ requirements for new qualities of plastics set the base for the company’s development. SPUR employs 245 people. In 2019, a turnover of 1 billion CZK was reached. Over 70% of production is exported. The company works in accordance with obtained certificates ISO 9001 and ISO 28000. 

Published: 25.6.2020, Author: nanoasociace