During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world faced a severe shortage of various textile protective equipment, products and services such as face masks, medical gowns, and body bags. To avoid similar situations during future events, the H2020 project RESERVIST targets re-designing textile protective equipment for production via alternative lines.
The Focus is on:
- Re-usable medical face masks (partners SIOEN and Centexbel);
- Medical face masks via spun lace nonwoven fabrics (partners Suominen, Screentec, and VTT);
- Medical gowns (partners SIOEN and Centexbel);
- Biodegradable body bags (partner SIOEN).
Thereby applying a re-design and reverse engineering approach to produce the products alternatively while keeping product requirements.
The focus will be on the required elements for the manufacturing process: materials, converting, finishing, and confectioning (preparing the final product). Additional challenges are guaranteeing or increasing wearer comfort and finding a good balance between breathability and barrier function (protection against viruses and bacteria).
A good example is the development of soil biodegradable body bags. Today’s products are based on non-biodegradable plastics (typically PVC and PE), so once these bags are in use under the ground, they stay there for many years as no degradation occurs. The pandemic demonstrated a need for qualitative and more sustainable body bags that are rapidly available in case of an emergency. Within RESERVIST, SIOEN targets to develop innovative body bag materials with good mechanical properties and high frequency weldable, which are also biodegradable in soil within six months to 3 years.