VDL Groep and Royal DSM joint venture(JV) to produce medical facemasks and the first permanent production of critical facemask components in the Netherlands. The new joint venture, Dutch PPE Solutions is expected to create employment for people in Helmond and Geleen, the Netherlands.
The JV partners are investing several million euros in the purchase of manufacturing equipment and construction of new manufacturing facilities to produce melt-blown polypropylene, the critical material layer in medical facemasks that filters viruses to produce medical masks. Initial production of facemasks will begin in Helmond in October 2020. The melt-blown polypropylene plant is expected to be fully operational in Geleen in April 2021.
Dutch PPE Solutions is a new enterprise that combines VDL’s manufacturing and processing knowledge with DSM’s specialist materials expertise. The JV intends to help meet the ongoing demand for finished high-quality facemasks and critical filter material. While the priority of both companies is the swift, reliable and stable manufacturing of urgently needed medical facemasks, DSM and VDL will simultaneously look for innovative and sustainable ways to reduce the growing waste mountain of used facemasks.
Willem van der Leegte, President and CEO, VDL Groep said: “During the past months the COVID crisis has taught us that you can’t tell a pandemic what to do and that continents need to provide for their own needs. This means we owe it to ourselves to create certainties close to home. This applies especially to personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who worked hard for our health during the past months, but for other professionals as well, of course. I’m proud of the fact that VDL and DSM, two powerful Dutch companies, decided to join forces and will start producing melt-blown and facemasks.”
Pieter Wolters, Vice President, DSM Innovation said: “The global demand for medical facemasks and critical filter material exceeds the limited supply. The need for reliable and high-quality supply chains is more urgent than ever. I’m proud that through our partnership with VDL Groep we can create a reliable, sustainable, high-quality supply chain in Europe, making us less dependent on supplies from overseas. Our joint venture is a purpose-led commercial enterprise. It marks a new phase that builds on DSM’s earlier initiatives to donate or support production at cost of, among others, medical facemasks, disinfectants and testing swabs when it was most needed and immediate actions were necessary for the fight against COVID-19.”