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Chinese oil giant producing fabric key to mask production

Though the demand for medical-grade masks remains high in China, production has slowed because of the shortage of a core material -- melt-blown non-woven fabric.

China’s oil giant Sinopec used to only produce raw material for this kind of fabric, but now they are leading the manufacturing of the fabric to quench the thirst of the market.

Two of the production lines of this fabric have been put into use by Sinopec last Sunday in Beijing.

In only 12 days, the lines were established and are now operating non-stop with hundreds of people working around the clock, learning about, testing, and finally using the machines.

"The outbreak made the production of masks very urgent. The Party Central Committee of the State Council appointed this important task to Sinopec. We are dedicated to this huge social responsibility," said deputy general manager of Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical Company.

The melt-blown unwoven fabric is known as the "heart" of the mask that filters out the virus, which also requires extra treatment during production. ;

As the outbreak continues, mass production of masks has made the fabric scarce.

"We are responding to the government’s call to produce masks. Since we have never done this in the past, our original supply for the fabric came from government allocation," said Li Renyao, general manager of Small-Bone Business Group, Naton Medical Group. ;

"But supplies have become tight. We are now buying new machines to meet market demand. Our mask production capacity will reach two million per day, and that’d require one and a half tonnes of the fabric," noted Li.

But now, with the operation of the two new production lines, manufacturers can keep their machines running 24/7.

"We now build production lines that can produce four to six tonnes of fabric per day. This can support the production of six million medical-level masks every day," said Jiao.

Sinopec plans to build a total of 10 production lines in China. The company also hopes to double its production capacity in the near future.