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March 9, 2020

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Oil giant Sinopec ramping up production of surgical masks

Yesterday at Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical, two melt-blown non-woven fabric production lines came on line, with the capacity to produce 1.2 million N95 respirators and 6 million surgical masks every day.

The company has to manufacture four tons of fabric to produce that many items, which are in critically short supply amid the coronavirus epidemic, especially for medical workers.

As the essential material to make medical masks, meltblown non-woven fabric is the filtering layer in the middle of the mask. The width of the fabric’s fiber is about 0.5 percent that of a human hair.

Each fiber is loaded with polarized charges, creating a weak electric field enabling it to absorb dust, bacteria and pollen.

Last month, Sinopec set out to create a total of 10 fabric production lines in a bid to fill the gap between supply and demand.

When completed, the production lines will produce fabric for 3.6 million N95 respirators and 18 million surgical masks every day.

“The old factory was transformed into two production lines within two weeks with the help of the local government,” said Jiao Yang, Sinopec’s deputy general manager.

Mask factories have been running at full capacity to meet the demand for medical-protective products. The daily production capacity of protective clothing has increased to 500,000 suits from less than 20,000 suits, while that of regular masks has risen to 100 million units, according to Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council.


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