The Textilcord factory, located in Steinfort, has invested in a production line for surgical masks, of which it will produce 20 million every year.
Since 1965, the Textilcord factory has specialised in the manufacture of reinforcement fabrics for tyres. For several years, it has served the largest players in the sector, contributing with its 130 employees to the manufacture of tyres mainly intended for motor vehicles.
In June 2020, considering the needs raised by the health crisis, this entity of the Indorama Ventures group considered producing surgical masks.
“At the height of the crisis, in spring 2020, the leaders of European countries saw the need to no longer depend on external sources of supply to have surgical masks, essential to guarantee the protection of everyone, starting with medical personnel", explained Céline Vuarnesson, Managing Director of Textilcord Steinfort SA. "We wanted to respond to the European desire to relocate the manufacture of these products and to guarantee their supply".
Textilcord has set up a new production line, in its own area, separate from the other activities carried out in Steinfort. This €700,000 investment, 80% of which is financed by the Luxembourg state, will make it possible to produce 20 million masks annually. “This help is essential. This is an important development for a factory of our size. It responds to the government's desire to guarantee national and more broadly European supply autonomy in a context of crisis and beyond", added Céline Vuarnesson.
The Managing Director continued: “We dimensioned production taking into account expected market fluctuations, linked in particular to seasonality. Beyond the crisis, we want to perpetuate this new activity. We can expect demand to remain strong in the months and years to come".
For the manufacture of surgical masks, Textilcord can also rely on the Indorama group, whose Avgol entity directly supplies the filtering material necessary for the manufacture of the masks.
The company already intends to improve its installation in an innovative process. The project will soon acquire equipment allowing the deposition of a virucide on the outer layer of the mask. With this technology, developed by the Luxembourg-based company Molecular Plasma Group, the viruses deposited on the masks will be directly neutralised.
The implementation of this project took a few months. Beyond the installation of the production line and the organisation of the processes, it was necessary to go through certification tests to guarantee the quality of the surgical masks produced. Once this was obtained, marketing began in mid-March. It is oriented towards the French-speaking Belgian, French and Luxembourgish markets and mainly towards large consumers such as hospitals and care centres, nurseries, schools, organisations, companies and factories, as well as commercial brands.
“The masks can be personalised with the logo of the companies, organisations or associations that would be interested,” explained Céline Vuarnesson.
Textilcord will also respond to inquiries from wholesalers wishing to organise retail sales. The production will also cover the needs of the entire Indorama Ventures group, which is present in 33 countries.