Huhtamaki expands its manufacture of protective face shields (PFS)

Huhtamaki helps fight the Coronavirus pandemic by expanding its manufacture of protective face shields (PFS). Ramping up to produce 8 million shields per week in June, for health care workers and other close contact occupations.

Huhtamaki, a sustainable food on-the-go and food on-the-shelf packaging solutions company, is expanding the production of its CE marked high-quality protective face shields for health care workers and others that need increased hygiene and safety protection.

This is on the back of its recent scaling up of the industrial manufacture of protective face shields (PFS) at its folded carton unit in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Initially this was the result of a partnership with a local partner, seeking to alleviate the severe shortage of personal protective equipment for local health care workers fighting COVID-19. Huhtamaki is now leveraging its know-how and planning to ramp up the production of this essential personal protective equipment through production at five additional locations in Europe.

Huhtamaki is committed to protecting people, food and the planet, and is proud to be able to leverage its core capabilities to make a difference where it matters most. To manufacture the PFS’s the company is repurposing its folding carton packaging machinery to precision-cut optically clear and lightweight visors. For extra comfort and to ensure a close fit for increased safety for all head sizes, the visors are then combined with a padded adjustable strap. For hygiene and safety reasons the protective face shields are a single use product. The visor is made of PET that can be recycled and Huhtamaki is looking into making the face shields 100% recyclable in the future. At medical facilities however, once used the face shields are treated as medical waste.

The protective face shields are for frontline and essential workers including care-home workers as well as retail, pharmacy and home care staff. They can also be used for other close contact occupations. The shields are CE marked and conform to PPE Category I in Regulation (EU) 2016/425 on personal protective equipment, providing a high level of protection for the eyes and face from liquid splashes and droplets. The shield design allows for prescription eyewear and medical masks to be comfortably worn underneath.

“In addition to helping front-line health care workers fight the pandemic by doing what we can to ensure they have the protective equipment they need, we also want to help the society to recover. With the protective face shields, we can help people in close contact occupations return to work safely,” says Eric Le Lay, President for Huhtamaki Fiber and Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania. “The face shields are also ideal for the foodservice industry, personal care, retail as well as manufacturing operations – anywhere people work in close contact with each other,“ he continues.

In addition to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Huhtamaki will begin to produce the protective face shields in Blackburn, the UK; Gliwice and Czeladz, Poland; Ivanteevka, Russia and Ennis, Ireland operations. The Belfast operation is already producing four million face shields per week for the national healthcare system in the UK. With the additional manufacturing units, the total number of shields Huhtamaki is able to produce is expected to increase to approximately eight million shields per week in June. Commercial deliveries outside the UK are expected to start during May.

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