Epson turns its dry fibre technology to face mask production *Updated*
Epson turns its dry fibre technology to face mask production
*Updated on 27 May 2020: Updated with an explanation from Epson on functional fibres*
Epson has announced plans to use its original Dry Fibre technology to manufacture face masks for its employees in Japan in a measure to deal with Covid-19.
Dry Fibre technology is a dry process that has until now been used to turn used or waste paper into new paper inside an office through the use of Epson’s PaperLab A-8000 in-office dry papermaking system. It used a three-step process of defibration where the wastepaper is broken into fibres, binding the fibres together and forming the fibres into a sheet of paper.
As Epson is planning to produce face masks, the company is not planning to use wastepaper but rather use what Epson calls, Functional Fibres.
Functional fibres are fibrous resins that melt and form the filtration layer between the inner and outer layers of a typical mask and are created when producing new paper from used paper during the Dry Fibre Technology (DFT) process.
Production will be carried out at the company’s Kanbayashi and Suwa Minami Plants in Nagano, Japan, where the majority of its domestic employees are located, from the end of May. Epson does not currently plan to manufacture the masks for sale but will use them to allow Epson to donate 100,000 surgical masks it had purchased as part of its business continuity plan (BCP) to local authorities and medical institutions in Nagano, where needs for personal protective equipment (PPE) have been expanding rapidly.
Other corporate face mask actions
Razer is another company that also set about manufacturing face masks for donation early on during the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the company setting up face mask manufacturing lines in Singapore, they began distributing some them across the island via vending machines.
Sharp also announced plans to use one of its TV factories in Kameyama, Mie prefecture, to make face masks. Sharp planned to make 150,000 masks a day at the factory by the end of March and ramp up production to 500,000 masks a day.