Dutch PPE Solutions is a joint venture of VDL Groep and Koninklijke DSM. We make high-quality medical face masks in the Netherlands and filter material will be produced in the Netherlands for the first time.
Both companies are investing several millions in the purchase of machines and the building of a production site for melt-blown polypropylene, the critical filter layer in medical face masks that filters viruses and part of the production of face masks. The joint venture will start in Helmond in October 2020, with the production of type FFP2 medical masks. The melt-blown polypropylene plant in Geleen is expected to be operational from April 2021.
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 realisation of the first permanent production facility for critical filter material in the Netherlands will provide more resilience if the demand for face masks and the materials required for them increases in the future.
Dutch PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Solutions is a company that combines DSM’s specialist expertise in materials with VDL’s knowledge of production and processes. Through this initiative, the collaboration meets the continuous and urgent demand for face masks and filter material. 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.
While the initial priority is fast, reliable and stable production of the much-needed medical face masks, DSM and VDL are at the same time looking for innovative and sustainable ways to reduce the growing mountain of waste of used face masks, for example by examining the extent to which circular and/or degradable materials can be used.
President and CEO of VDL Groep, Willem van der Leegte: “During the past few months, the corona crisis has taught us that you can’t tell a pandemic what to do and that it’s important for continents to start providing for their own needs. This means we owe it to ourselves to create security close to home. This especially applies to personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who fought so hard for our health the past few months, but for other professionals as well, of course. I’m proud of the fact that VDL and DSM, two powerful Dutch companies, have decided to join forces to start producing melt-blown and face masks together.”
Pieter Wolters, director of DSM PPE Plus BV and vice-president of DSM Innovation: “The global demand for medical face masks and critical filters to protect people from corona exceeds the limited supply. All this when the need for reliable supply chains is greater than ever. I’m proud that our cooperation with VDL Groep enables us to set up a reliable, sustainable and high-quality production chain in the Netherlands that makes our country less dependent on supplies from abroad. Dutch PPE Solutions is a purpose-led commercial venture and marks a new phase that builds on DSM’s initiatives earlier this year to help produce homegrown medical face masks, disinfectant and swab sticks when the need was high and immediate action was needed in the fight against corona.”