News overview
Dutch PPE Solutions starts large-scale production of filter material for medical facemasks
Photo caption, from left to right: Mark Bakermans, Managing Director Dutch PPE Solutions, Bas Kivit van Haaften, Operational Manager of Zuyderland ziekenhuis and Carel Fitie, Board Member Dutch PPE Solutions.

Dutch PPE Solutions starts large-scale production of filter material for medical facemasks

7 May 2021

Dutch PPE Solutions, the joint venture of Royal DSM and VDL Groep, starts today with the production of virus filtering material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks in a newly built factory by DSM in Geleen, the Netherlands. Dutch PPE Solutions is the first to deliver professional facemasks with filter material that is entirely made on Dutch soil. With the production of the critical filter layer, meltblown polypropylene, in the Netherlands the joint venture makes Europe less dependent on supplies from overseas and ensures that professionals in healthcare and other sectors can always do their work safely.

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The opening today of the first production facility of meltblown polypropylene in the Netherlands creates greater resilience to surges in demand for medical facemasks and the underlying materials. The high-quality filter material is made from biobased feedstock - used cooking oil - and the manufacturing machines run on renewable electricity. Dutch PPE Solutions’ ambition is to produce the most sustainable filter material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks.

From idea to sustainable large-scale production in record-time
The opening today of the first production facility of meltblown polypropylene in the Netherlands creates greater resilience to surges in demand for medical facemasks and the underlying materials. The high-quality filter material is made from biobased feedstock - used cooking oil - and the manufacturing machines run on renewable electricity. Dutch PPE Solutions’ ambition is to produce the most sustainable filter material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks.

VDL and DSM joined forces in September 2020 to meet the urgent need to diversify the global production and supply chains of personal protective equipment at scale by reducing dependency on a small number of international sources. DSM and VDL invested several million euros in manufacturing equipment to produce facemasks and in the new manufacturing facility for meltblown polypropylene. The joint venture employs dozens of people in its production locations in Geleen and Helmond, the Netherlands. 

Entrepreneurship
Dutch IIR facemask manufacturer MedProtex is Dutch PPE Solutions’ first customer of meltblown polypropylene. Cyrille Depondt, CEO MedProtex says: “To establish a sustainable, transparent and futureproof production chain of personal protection equipment, it is crucial to have access to raw materials close to home. The opening of the factory for high quality critical filtermaterial in Geleen is a testimony to entrepreneurship and a proofpoint for making our Dutch and European infrastructure more resilient for future pandemics. At MedProtex we believe in short, sustainable chains and transparency. Dutch PPE Solutions delivers just that. That’s why we decided to use their meltblown polypropylene filter material in our products. This powerful collaboration is Made in Holland and creates multiple value on economic, social and ecological level.”

Delivery
Pieter Wolters, Vice President DSM Innovation Business Building and Member of the Dutch PPE Solutions Board: “The initial goal between DSM and VDL was to help when it was most needed and immediate actions were necessary in the fight against COVID-19. We learned during the early months of the pandemic what the risks are of full dependency of overseas suppliers and that a partial capacity of local manufacturing will provide better health and safety for the future. We promised we would do something about it and now we deliver. With the Geleen-based meltblown polypropylene production facility and the facemask production lines in Helmond we secured a Western European supply of facemasks and critical facemask components. Thereby we provide robust and reliable high-quality personal protection equipment to the healthcare workers and the population.”

Click here to take a virtual tour in the new meltblown polypropylene factory in Geleen. 

About Dutch PPE Solutions
Dutch PPE Solutions is a joint venture of VDL Groep and Koninklijke DSM that offers high-quality medical face masks and filter material, entirely made in the Netherlands. The joint venture will help meet the urgent need to diversify the global, large-scale production and supply chains of personal protective equipment and reduce dependency on a limited number of manufacturers. The initial priority will be healthcare, while production will be gradually expanded to include face masks for professionals in other sectors such as public transport, schools and educational institutions and companies across Europe. Reliability, availability, quality and socially responsible pricing are a key strategy of the joint venture.

About VDL Groep
Strength through cooperation. VDL Groep, an Eindhoven-based, international industrial family business, is built on this foundation. Pieter van der Leegte founded the company in 1953. Initially, VDL Groep specialised in metalworking. Later, when Pieter's son, Wim van der Leegte, took over the business in 1966, the portfolio grew to include plastics processing, the development, production and sale of buses and high-tech supply to the semi-conductor industry (amongst other industries). VDL Groep has now expanded into subcontracting and semi-finished goods, makes its own end products, such as suspension systems, automated production lines for the automotive industry, heat exchangers and container handling systems, and it also owns the only passenger car factory in the Netherlands that handles third-party car assembly. VDL Groep innovates through a combination of craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and the use of high-quality machines. The group combines the power of a multinational with the flat organisation and open, informal working atmosphere of a family business in which advancement opportunities and long-term ambitions are given priority. VDL Groep employs more than 15,000 employees and operates in 20 countries. The group encompasses 107 operating companies - each with its own specialism - that work together closely. In 2020, the combined annual turnover amounted to 4.686 billion euros. More information: www.vdlgroep.com

About DSM
Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM's purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its products and solutions some of the world's biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental, and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 23,000 employees. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information can be found at www.dsm.com.

About MedProtex
MedProtex is a Dutch producer of CE certified surgical facemasks type 2R. At its location in Maastricht (NL), the company produces over 1 million mouthmasks a week for Dutch healthcare workers. As supplier to the Dutch government (LCH) the company directly contributes to protecting healthcare workers throughout the Netherlands. Medprotex has sustainability, innovation, and high quality against competitive prices in the core of its strategy.

For more information:
VDL Groep Communication                                    
Miel Timmers, spokesman                                      
tel. + 31 (0)6 14 76 70 66                                         
e-mail: m.timmers@vdl.nl 

DSM Communication           
André van der Elsen, spokesman
tel. + 31 (0) 45 578 24 21
e-mail: media.relations@dsm.com

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