Confronting coronavirus

Multifunctional high-tech masks

In addition to manufacturing safety goggles, ARBURG has launched a project to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. Since 11 May, the company has been using its injection moulding technology to produce face masks made from LSR and PP. The multifunctional masks can be sterilised and reused.

High-tech: liquid silicone rubber product designed and produced in-house in Lossburg
ARBURG developed the high-quality sustainable masks in-house and produced initial prototypes with freeformers using additive methods. The product consists of a soft liquid silicone rubber mask which fits over the nose and mouth and a rigid PP shield with loops to which elastic bands can be attached. There is a standardised connection with a hole in the centre of the mask (DIN EN ISO 5356-1:2004). Breathing masks are in huge demand. Automated serial production of these two components is under way in Lossburg on two electric ALLROUNDERs. The company is aiming to produce 3500 masks a day.

Multifunctional: breathing masks for general use and for use by hospital staff
The flexible high-tech masks are multifunctional: in general use, the opening is sealed with a flow gate to prevent infection. A filter housing can be attached to the flow gate at the next configuration level. ARBURG intends to commence production of this component very soon working in collaboration with partners. The use of suitable FFP2 or FFP3 filters will provide protection against COVID-19 and enable the masks to be used by doctors and nurses, for example.

A collaborative approach involving numerous partners
The LSR component and mould simulation was carried out using the Sigmasoft software from Sigma Engineering. In a record time of around just five weeks, Polar-Form and Foboha worked in partnership to build the corresponding injection moulds for the liquid silicone rubber and PP components. Ewikon (cold runner) and Männer (hot runner) were also involved in creating the mould technology. Other partners included Barth Mechanik (gripper) and Packmat (packaging technology). The raw material for several tens of thousands of masks was donated by the chemical group Wacker and Borealis. Weber (injection mould), Guenther (hot runner), Küfner (filter material), Herrmann Ultraschall (welding technology) and Packmat (packaging technology) are all getting involved in the follow-on project to manufacture filter housings.