SML produces PET sheet for face shields
This week marked the beginning of the industrial production of PET sheet, the main component in plastic face shields, at the SML headquarters in Redlham (in the district of Vöcklabruck). Production takes place on a state-of-the-art line for calendered sheets. The extrusion line produces enough material for up to 10,000 face shields per hour. The final production stage then takes place at a partner company in Freilassing.
Within record time, ongoing development work at SML has been repurposed for the production of cost-effective face shields for the personal protection of risk groups and people in critical infrastructures.
The sheets are processed into face shields at Kiefel Technologies in Freilassing, Bavaria, a partner company of SML. "Our cross-border cooperation efforts to produce these much needed face shields showcases yet again how quickly, flexibly and non-bureaucratically companies can respond to challenges such as these – it also underlines the importance of reliable partnerships in Europe, particularly in a situation like this", the Managing Director of SML, Karl Stöger, comments.
Face shields serve as an additional and comfortable form of protection, particularly for people exposed all day long to the risk of infection with Covid-19. Two types of face shields are produced - based on 0.3 mm and 0.15 mm thin PET sheet respectively.
One of the shields is equipped with a dimensionally stable, reusable plastic bow. This gives the PET sheet, which is only 0.15 millimetres thick, the right structure. This very thin film can be regularly exchanged. It is suitable for wearers in the retail trade or service providers. The other shield consists entirely of a punched, 0.3 millimetre thick PET sheet. It is designed as a convenient, disposable application for frequent changes and specifically for doctors or nursing staff.
SML is one of the world's leading manufacturers of extrusion systems for the production of film and sheet from a wide variety of polymers. SML's systems are characterised by their high production quantities offering a first-class product quality. While the 0.3 millimetre PET sheet used in the disposable face shield is more or less a standard product, the production of the very thin 0.15 millimetre "thick" PET sheet for the face shields with bars requires specialist know-how in the field of process engineering. The relative stability and extremely high transparency are properties both sheets have in common. These are the basic requirements for this material to be used for face shields.
The PET sheet can be recycled 100%, for example along with PET bottles and other PET products. Thus in terms of a functioning circular economy, face shields of PET are an environmentally friendly solution.