Hygiene Austria’s production of protective masks off to flying start
Posted May 14, 2020
WIENER NEUDORF, Austria – Just two weeks ago the newly established company Hygiene Austria LP GmbH announced the production of mouth-nose protective masks here within the context of a joint venture of Lenzing AG and Palmers Textil AG.
Now, the product portfolio will be expanded to include FFP2 masks. The managing directors of Hygiene Austria gave an initial positive assessment during a plant visit by Margarete Schramböck, federal minister for digital and economic affairs; Johanna Mikl-Leitner, governor of the Federal State of Lower Austria; Jochen Danninger, Lower Austrian state minister of economic affairs and Herbert Janschka, mayor of Wiener Neudorf.
“The coronavirus crisis was a necessary wake-up call for us to once again focus more on domestic manufacturing. Hygiene Austria identified the need and not only offered quick help by founding the Austrian company, but also strengthened Austria as a business location,” said Minister Margarete Schramböck, pleased with the domestic production of mouth-nose protective masks in Lower Austria.
Enormous media response
“The media response was enormous. Numerous companies contacted us within just a few hours to place orders worth millions of euros,” said Stefan Doboczky, CEO of Lenzing AG.
The machinery serves as the basis for producing 12 million mouth-nose protective masks per month. This capacity will be increased to about 25 million pieces in a further expansion phase. Additional machines were put into production as a result of the good level of demand.
“Current delivery time is just a few days, and availability is ensured at all times due to the high level of daily production,” said Tino Wieser, a member of the Board of Palmers Textil AG.
Expansion of production
Hygiene Austria originally commenced operations by producing medical mouth-nose protective face masks (e.g. surgical protective masks). In a further step, an additional machine was acquired to enable the firm to manufacture particle-filtering half masks (FFP2 masks). This machine is currently on its way to the production facility. Accordingly, the production of FFP2 masks will begin in the middle of May.
“The difference between a mouth-nose mask and an FFP2 mask is that the latter can filter particles from the air and is primarily used in the healthcare sector as personal protective equipment. FFP2 masks are subject to legal regulations and have to fulfill special testing criteria,” said Luca Wieser, a member of the Board of Palmers Textil AG.
Matvei Hutman, a member of the Board of Palmers Textil AG, added: “The mouth-nose masks are for private use and serve as a mechanical barrier. They are designed to protect against infection from droplet transmission through speaking, sneezing and coughing.”
Capacities and additional machinery
Delivery times may deviate due to the different requirements and testing criteria of the masks.
“We are striving to quickly increase our capacities and are working full steam ahead to acquire additional machines,” said Doboczky.
“Naturally, it was a very important goal and we are delighted to have succeeded in attracting the production of high-quality protective masks to Lower Austria. On behalf of the Federal State of Lower Austria, we tried very hard in the project implementation phase to ensure that production could already be ramped up at record speed starting in May. Particularly in a time of crisis, the expansion of Hygiene Austria’s product range creates another roughly 100 jobs in Lower Austria and also represents an important contribution to health care services,” said Mikl-Leitner, expressing her satisfaction with this positive development during her visit to the production site.
“At the present time there is an enormous shortage of high-quality medical face masks. I therefore would like to thank the cooperation partners Lenzing AG and Palmers Textil AG for selecting the site in Lower Austria for their face mask production. In this way, Austria could rapidly free itself from its dependence on the global market and set up its own production operations. For this reason, we at the Federal State of Lower Austria provided extensive support to the project from the very beginning,” said Danninger.
Two experienced companies joined together to set up an innovative company in spite of difficult economic conditions triggered by the coronavirus crisis and to thus give a resounding and trailblazing go-ahead to the new “Eco-Park” business park.
“Nothing better or more important could have happened to Wiener Neudorf in this time and in the current situation,” said Mayor Herbert Janschka, proud of the successful development of Hygiene Austria and the related high added value to society generated in his municipality.