Covid-19: SML produces PET sheet for face shields

Covid-19: SML produces PET sheet for face shields

Extrusion machinery firm SML has stated the industrial production of PET sheet, the main component in plastic face shields, at the SML headquarters in Redlham (in the district of Vöcklabruck), Austria. Production is taking place on a line for calendered sheets, with the extrusion line producing enough material for up to 10,000 face shields/hour. The final production stage then takes place at compatriot company Kiefel Technologies’s facility in Freilassing, Germany.

SML says it was able to repurpose its production, at a record time, for cost-effective face shields for the personal protection of risk groups and people in critical infrastructures.

Face shields serve as an additional and comfortable form of protection, particularly for people exposed all day long to the risk of infection with Covid-19. Two types of face shields are produced - based on 0.3 mm and 0.15 mm thin PET sheet respectively.

One of the shields is equipped with a dimensionally stable, reusable plastic bow. This gives the PET sheet, which is only 0.15 mm thick, the right structure. This very thin film can be regularly exchanged. It is suitable for wearers in the retail trade or service providers. The other shield consists entirely of a punched, 0.3 mm thick PET sheet. It is designed as a convenient, disposable application for frequent changes and specifically for doctors or nursing staff.

While the 0.3 mm PET sheet used in the disposable face shield is more or less a standard product, the production of the very thin 0.15 mm PET sheet for the face shields with bars requires specialist know-how in the field of process engineering, according to SML. The relative stability and high transparency are properties both sheets have in common. These are the basic requirements for this material to be used for face shields.

The PET sheet can be recycled 100%, for example along with PET bottles and other PET products. Thus, in terms of a functioning circular economy, face shields of PET are an environmentally friendly solution.

The sheets are processed into face shields at Kiefel in Freilassing, Bavaria, a partner company of SML. "Our cross-border cooperation efforts to produce these much needed face shields showcases yet again how quickly, flexibly and non-bureaucratically companies can respond to challenges such as these – it also underlines the importance of reliable partnerships in Europe, particularly in a situation like this,” Managing Director of SML, Karl Stöger, commented.

SML manufactures extrusion systems for the production of film and sheet from a wide variety of polymers.


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