SCG Chemicals has launched Asean's first polypropylene for melt-blown resins to support local production of facial mask filters for protection against Covid-19 infections and PM2.5 ultra-fine dust in an effort to reduce dependence on imports and prevent a domestic shortage. Until now, there has been no production of polypropylene resins to feed the domestic melt-blown fabric industry, resulting in dependence on material imported from other countries such as China and South Korea, said Tanawong Areeratchakul, president of SCG Chemicals.
The world is battling the pandemic and the World Health Organization reported that demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and gloves, has risen 100-fold when compared with pre-pandemic levels, said Mr Tanawong. As a result, many countries have had to ramp up their production and limit exports to ensure there are sufficient supplies for domestic use.
According to the Department of Internal Trade, domestic demand for face masks in Thailand stands at 30-40 million pieces per month under normal circumstances. However, following the outbreak of Covid-19, demand has surged five-fold, reaching around 200 million pieces per month.
"According to a recent study, Thailand has a current demand for melt-blown fabric and spun-bond fabric to produce disposable related products of up to 10,000 tons per year for health and the wellness industry," according to Mr Tanawong. Polypropylene resins can produce fibers of 1-5 microns in diameter, enabling them to filter out fine particles such as PM2.5, as well as germs.
The materials have a particle filtration efficiency rating of over 95 % and a bacteria filtration efficiency rating of over 95 %. "SCG's PP melt-blown resin is now commercially available and is ready to be developed into other products such as PPE or high-quality air filters."
Earlier this month, SCG Chemicals said it expects to increase green polymer products to 200,000 tons by 2025 and go ahead with a plan to raise the proportion of high value-added products to 50 % of its sales by 2030. Green polymers are environmentally-friendly chemical compounds used as raw materials for various industries.
Source: Daily “The Bangkok Post”, Bangkok; 30 Mar 2021
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)