Covid-19: Hot Melt Adhesive Helps Sportswear Company Produce 100,000 Masks Weekly

Posted on 4/6/2020 8:18:54 AM By ASC

Under Armour athletic wear manufacturers have switched their focus and manufacturing machinery from making active wear to meeting medical gear needs in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In light of the current global shortage of protective gear for medical workers the company has produced its own design for disposable protective masks, which it envisages should allow for production at a rate of 100,000 masks a week. 

The company reports that to ensure speedy production, the masks are created without any sewing. Instead, they are made from a single piece of fabric similar to that used for surgical masks, which is cut in bundles of about 100 on the company’s knife cutter. They are then carefully folded by a group of volunteers to cover the entire face, and the folds are held together by thermoplastic hot melt adhesive (HMA), also known as hot glue, which creates a very secure bond critical to the design and function of the masks.

Initially the protective masks will be distributed at cost to the University of Maryland, John Hopkins Medicine, LifeBridge Health and Medstar, all of which are situated in Maryland, a US state currently fighting against fast escalating numbers of confirmed Coronavirus cases and deaths. 

Although the disposable masks have not been certified by a medical organization, the company reports that they can act as effective barriers against the virus for those medical workers not working directly with Covid-19 patients; or be used as an extra shield to prolong the life of the respiratory N95 mask used by those in ICUs or Covid-19 patient wards. 

In addition to the masks, Under Armour is also using hot melt adhesive to produce plastic face shields (for use with the masks). It’s also investigating using its 3D printers to generate N95 and N80 masks.

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