Pandemic sheds bright light on need to grow cotton sector

Seshadri Ramkumar

Posted September 10, 2020

 

By Seshadri Ramkumar

 

LUBBOCK, Texas – A unique international collaboration between the shoe industry, the textile and cotton sector and academia has resulted in functional and fashionable face masks.

 

Around the world, industries are slowly commencing their manufacturing activities and social distancing, and strict hygiene practices have become the new normal. This has enhanced the need for hand sanitizers, gloves and face masks. Industries are looking for innovative ways to survive by repurposing their capacities that can cater to the needs of COVID-19 situation.

 

Interestingly, collaborations are evolving between different sectors.

 

Arrow Brogues, Pvt. Ltd., a Ranipet, India-based shoe manufacturer, is collaborating with this scribe’s Nonwovens and Advanced Laboratory at Texas Tech University and Chennai-based WellGro United to develop filtering and fashionable face masks. 

 

Arrow Brogues has been in shoe manufacturing for 20 years catering to Indian and foreign markets such as Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. Masks are released under the brand name H.F. Journey, which has nonwoven cotton as a core filter substrate. The design expertise of Arrow Brogues has been valuable in the development of H.F. Journey masks. WellGro United supplies the core filter substrate for the masks.

 

“We understand the need for protection technologies and hence sought the collaboration with Texas Tech University in developing masks that have functionality and fashion sense,” said Velayutham Pandy, managing director of Arrow Brogues, Pvt. Ltd.

 

The project showcases timely innovation as it has repurposed cotton nonwoven technology to develop filter substrate.

 

“This is a milestone for WellGro United as it has created a new vertical in our line of products which find timely use,” said Nambi Srinivasan, vice president marketing of WellGro United.

 

It is pleasing to report that cotton is finding new applications in the current COVID-19 scenario, enabling a few timely innovations.

 

Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., CText., FTI (U.K.), FTA (honorary), is a professor at the Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory at Texas Tech.

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