The lines for the production of FFP2 face masks and respirators from Taiwan have finally been put into trial operation. The goal is to produce up to two million respirators from Czech materials per month on two lines. For now, however, it seems that the customers will be mainly from abroad. According to the line operators, the Czech government keeps buying respirators made in China.
The European Center for the Development and Production of Respirators received the first two automatic lines from the Taiwanese company Autoland on Wednesday. The conditions for obtaining the lines were to produce respirators from Czech materials, to provide part of the production free of charge for public benefit purposes and to ensure the lines would be serviced by professional personnel, trained in Taiwan.
However, the consignment was detained by customs officers because it included face masks for children that lacked proper documentation, which needed to be submitted.
Two of the four lines for the production of FFP2 respirators were donated to the Czech Republic by the Taiwanese company Autoland as a gesture of goodwill in connection with last year's visit of the head of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) to Taiwan. The remaining two lines are expected to arrive in February. Subsequently, they will be able to produce up to 250,000 FFP2 respirators and nanorespirators per day.
On Friday, the consignment finally arrived at its destination and a team of experts spent the whole weekend assembling it. The pilot run was launched on Monday.
"We immediately started putting the production lines into operation. Its complexity corresponds to the fact that it is a fully automated device. Our December trip to the line manufacturer, Autoland, where we underwent thorough training, helped us a lot with the quick commissioning,”
says Matěj Buzgo from the technology company InoCure. He has been involved in all negotiations with the Taiwanese party since the beginning of their cooperation.
"We anticipate that cooperation with Autoland will continue, both in the field of technology and in the field of nanomaterials, in which we are one of the largest producers in the world,"
Although the MEPs have recently approved mandatory quotas for Czech food in larger stores, which means that stores over 400 square meters will have to stock at least 55% of certain foodstuffs produced in the Czech Republic, the same rule doesn't apply to medical supplies. According to Buzgo, the Czech government is not a customer. Buzgo revealed that there are only a few Czech customers - shops and chains stores - and the rest of the respirators will be exported to Austria, Germany, Spain or even Slovakia.
The respirators are manufactured from a melt-blown filter material (technology of production of nonwovens by blowing melt, ed. note) from a Czech manufacturer.
Part of the agreement with the Taiwanese partner was the provision of a certain percentage of the produced respirators for charity purposes.
"At present, we expect to produce up to 2 million respirators per month on these two Taiwanese routes. We will provide at least 100,000 of them free of charge to those in need. Their destination will be decided in particular by President Vystrčil,"
says Martin Ladyr, owner of the company GOOD MASK. As part of his Free Respirators project, he wants to donate Czech FFP2 respirators to other people who find it difficult to obtain them.
At the moment, the company is launching a new production hall in Prague 4 with the aim of increasing the production of certified FFP2 respirators up to 30 million units per month. The respirators are manufactured from a melt-blown filter material (technology of production of nonwovens by blowing melt, ed. note) from a Czech manufacturer.
The fifth line for the production of face masks and respirators from Taiwan, which, unlike the previous ones, will be a gift from one government to another government, will go to the Technical and Testing Institute of Civil Engineering (TZÚS).