Pelican Rotoflex is the largest rotogravure press manufacturing company in India. In a press note shared with PrintWeek, the company said the machine was developed in order "to contribute to the society in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic".
The purpose-built machine was conceptualised and designed within a short span of three week, the note said, and it is capable of producing N95 masks in a large scale.
The machine is a ‘Made in India’ product. The first machine would be able to produce more than 25,000 face masks per day. More machines are being manufactured, the company said.
Masks are one of the critical personal protective gears, which, when used correctly, protect the users against aerosol/droplet borne/air-borne infections. N95 masks are made of multiple fabric layers for filtration and a complex machine is required to produce such masks in huge quantities.
"A number of machine manufacturers and raw material suppliers from Taiwan, South Korea and China were contacted for supply of the machines. However, the costs were high and there was no certainty on the quality of the machines. So, Pelican decided to take up the challenge of developing a fully automatic N95 mask making machine," a company spokesperson said.
Pelican decided to leverage its technical and project management skills in conceptualising, designing, manufacturing of machines for the packaging industry. The company is believed to have technologies ranging from metallurgy, new generation electronics from Siemens, pneumatics, web handling, forming, folding, and welding at its R&D facilities.
A spokesperson said, "More than thousands of complex components are required for this automatic machine, which has been manufactured by Pelican in-house successfully."
Vijay Shah of Pelican Rotoflex said, "With the help of our team of over 150 engineers working round the clock, we made the dream of developing India’s first fully automatic mask making machine into reality in just around 20 days."
Pelican is aiming to manufacture over 1,00,000 high-quality N95 masks per day soon. The company has more than 350 gravure press installations in the industry and it is dispatching new equipment every 12 days. Apart from gravure presses, Pelican also produces equipment for solvent and solvent-less lamination, and extrusion lamination applications. In addition, it manufactures slitter rewinders, inspection rewinders, and stack flexography equipment for special segments such as woven sacks.