Nonwovens / Technical Textiles


European producers set for 20-fold increase in nonwoven face mask output by November

EU production of face masks, essential for tackling the coronavirus crisis, is set to increase 20-fold by November this year compared to pre-crisis times. This means that EU-based producers will be able to make the equivalent of 1.5 billion three-layer masks a month, according to figures released today by EDANA, the leading global association serving the nonwovens and related industries.
  • EDANA  calls on  authorities for guarantees  on role  of EU producers in  supply chain
  • New sectoral group set up to ensure face masks supply chain

Pierre Wiertz, EDANA’s General Manager, said: “These figures show how EDANA’s members in the  nonwovens  sector have  responded in  record  time to  the  unprecedented  challenge  of  the COVID-19 pandemic and the call by EU and national authorities to ramp up production of face masksto protect public health.”

Wiertz added: “As soon as the European Commission and member states asked for an increase in the production of face masks, EDANA’s members worked flat out to increase the production of meltblown nonwovenweb, which is essential for face masks, in the EU and to overcome global supply shortages.”

Over  the  last three months,  EDANA  has  been  liaising  with  partner  associations including MedTech  Europe,  ESF, and  EURATEX to  ensure  sufficient  supplies  of  essential  public  health equipment. EDANA has been recognized by the European Commission as the voice of industry on all issues relevant to the nonwoven-based face masks supply chain.

Wiertz said  that  following  this  response,  the  industry faced  some  uncertainties  which  needed clarification. “The industry now needs clear official estimates of the current and future EU needs for medical-grade face masks and personal protective masks (FFP2/3) as well as guarantees that stockpiling and procurement procedures would favour EU players in the supply chain and enable their  sustainable  business  development”. This  would rewardtheir efforts  to  produce  quality single-use products compliant with European Standards, he said. 

Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, explained that at the start of the pandemic in March “the main bottleneck in the global supply chainfor  face masks was a shortage ofultra-fine meltblown (MB) filament web, which is the indispensable high-tech filter layer used in all nonwoven masks. Once electro statistically charged, this nonwoven fabric is able to stop very fine particles and droplets carrying bacteria and viruses.”

(c) 2020 Edana
(c) 2020 Edana

Prigneaux  said that  thanks  to  the  efforts  of EU-based  producers  there would be  enough meltblown capacity in the EU by November to produce the equivalent of 1.5 billion three-layer surgical masks per month. He added that it normally took up to 12 months to install meltblown production linesbut several contractors had managed to halve the time needed. 

In  contrast  with  the  rest  of  the  supply  chain,  where  European  players  were  no  longer  in  a leadership position, the world’s most sophisticated technology platforms producing meltblown nonwovens belong to European machinery companies, he said. 

Last week EDANA convened a new sector group representing face mask converters, nonwoven suppliers,  testing  laboratories and  equipment  manufacturers to  work  together  to develop an independent  and  self-sufficient  supply  chain  for  medical  face  masks  and  personal  protective masks in the EU. The group will work to ensure adherence to applicable European Standards and to encourage responsible product stewardship throughout the life-cycle of face-masks from raw material sourcing to end-of-life solutions. 

In March 2020, EDANA offered rapid support in response to the call from EU member states and the European Commission to ramp up the production of face masks in the EU.

For more information, visit:

Related News
Latest News Nonwovens / Technical Textiles
More News from EDANA
Latest News