Sinopec plant starts mask material production to ease shortfall

NANJING (Xinhua) – China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), China’s largest oil refiner, has built a new meltblown non-woven fabric production line in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, which will boost the raw material supply to face mask producers.

Face masks have become a daily necessity in people’s self-protection against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As the essential material to make masks, the non-woven fabric is the filtering layer in the middle part of the mask to absorb dust, bacteria and pollen.

Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre Limited Liability Co in Jiangsu put its first meltblown cloth production line into operation on Sunday night. It is designed to have a daily output of one tonne of the fabric, which is enough for producing over one million medical masks.

The chemical firm has planned to build 12 such production lines. Once in full operation by end of May, they can ensure the supplies to produce 18 million medical masks a day. Sinopec is the upstream producer of the polypropylene raw materials in the industrial mask chain. Faced with the market shortage of masks and rising prices, the company has invested CNY300 million (USD42 million) to build the production facilities in its subsidiary of Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical Co, Ltd in Beijing and Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre in Jiangsu.

Secretary of the Party committee of Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fiber Wan Tao said it took 35 days for the company to design, build and install the production line from scratch before putting it into production, 18 days ahead of the original plan.