In 2021, COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our lives and health and transform the ways we interact with each other. To prevent the virus spread and to save lives, face masks have proven to be an effective measure that became mandatory in public places in most European countries. For many citizens, however, wearing a face covering for a prolonged period of time associates not only with the risk-lowering benefits but also with emotional and physical discomforts, such as inability to share a smile or skin irritations.
In the beginning of the pandemic, the unprecedented demand for face masks became one of the major challenges. To protect European citizens, patients and front-line practitioners and to address their needs rapidly, CO-VERSATILE consortium partners joined forces to prepare Europe for managing pandemics by elevating the adaptability and resilience of the manufacturing sector. A group of partners for one of CO-VERSATILE production lines ‘Silicone masks’, led by ML Engraving, innovates and deploys high-performance, silicone bio-compatible multi-use face masks. The novel design of masks and the development of new finishes ensure a more comfortable fit and improved air circulation.
Building upon past and current innovation initiatives, the group of partners for ‘Silicone masks’ focuses on achieving the following results:
Offer manufacturing companies a replicable method for fast re-purposing of their production lines for manufacturing vital personal protective equipment in high volumes and on short notice.
Make the design of the mask simple to produce by other manufacturers.
Make the masks comfortable to wear by using lightweight material and special velvet skin textures.
Make masks re-usable and affordable by inserting special filter.
Support manufacturing and logistics firms with a simulation service to ramp up their supply chains and optimise material flow processes – a service that can be particularly beneficial to SMEs looking at rebalancing their short-term sourcing decisions.
Develop a manual of operation in 3D PDF format to be supplied alongside the moulding machine to support employees of future adopters of the machine.
The manufacturing solution for the ’Silicone masks’ production line will additionally include guidelines, recommendations and tools to support companies in reconfiguring their supply chains to cover a sudden surge in demand and assess the supply chain risks caused by the pandemic.
Mask design: ML Engraving, SKM Aeronautics, ORP STAMPI SRL
Moulding simulations: ITAINNOVA
Mould design and manufacturing: ORP STAMPI SRL
Mask prototyping and moulding : ML Engraving, SKM Aeronautics, Leibniz University Hannover
Product quality certification: SUPSI
Supply chain model: Fraunhofer IML
Supply chain risk assessment: IE University, Fraunhofer IML
Build up product finite element analysis: Fraunhofer IGD