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Taiwan manufacturers to export mask-producing capability

N. America, Europe, S.E. Asia will be among beneficiaries of large-scale industrial effort

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Mask production plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. 

Mask production plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has slowed down in Taiwan, the government lifted the ban on surgical mask exports June 1, and today (July 3) a group of Taiwanese manufacturers is teaming up to export their know-how and equipment so the quick installation of production lines can churn out masks.

Over the course of the pandemic, Taiwanese mask makers ramped up production from 1.8 million to 20 million per day. However, demand has now fallen to about 8 million masks a day.

A team comprised of the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Textile Industry Research Institute (TTRI), the Precision Machinery Research & Development Center (PMC), and a dozen manufacturers. These include packaging-machine makers, melt-blown non-woven fabric machine makers, and earloop non-woven mask-sealing machine makers, who will collaborate to help countries in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

The team is set to officially announce the forthcoming service in late July.

Medical supplies manufacturer Motex Group (華新醫材集團) told Commercial Times that it has invested approximately NT$100 million to install three sets of melt-blown non-woven fabric machines. Each can produce one ton of fabric per day. Mortex Chairman YC Cheng (鄭永柱), who came up with the idea of "exporting mask plants" and put together the teams, said the initiative can tap into massive demand abroad.

No new domestically transmitted infections have been reported in Taiwan for over 80 consecutive days, while the total number of coronavirus cases stands at 449, including seven deaths.