Covid-19 May 11

Sinopec expands mask-production capacity

16 factories can now produce enough non-woven fabric to make 13.5 billion face-protection coverings

by Nadeem Xu
Sinopec expands mask-production capacity

(ATF) A unit of Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner, has opened another mask-making factory as part of the nation’s industrial effort to protect its citizens against coronavirus.

Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre opened the meltblown non-woven fabric production line Saturday, the unit’s 12th such facility.

That brings the oil giant’s number of such production lines to 16, the company said. Together with its joint venture enterprises, Sinopec can now make 37 tonnes of meltblown non-woven fabric every day, with annual production capacity expected to exceed 13,500 tonnes. That’s enough to make 13.5 billion medical masks.

Non-woven fabric is the core raw material that serves as the filter layer in masks. It absorbs dust, bacteria and pollen.

It took Sinopec 76 days to construct the world's largest meltblown non-woven fabric production base, after work began February 24, according to the company.

Sinopec is the upstream producer of the polypropylene raw materials in the industrial mask chain. Faced with a market shortage of masks, the company invested 300 million yuan ($42m) to build the production facilities in its subsidiaries Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical in Beijing and Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre in Jiangsu.