ATIRA is developing the cloth material for preparation of five lakh ‘N-99 masks’, which it says would be better in quality than the N-95 masks that have been in huge demand of late in the fight against coronavirus.
The Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA) in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation has produced a high quality cloth to make masks of 99% filter efficiency, the highest among all kind of masks available in the country.
ATIRA is developing the cloth material for preparation of five lakh N-99 masks, which it says would be better in quality than the N-95 masks that have been in huge demand of late in the fight against coronavirus.
ATIRA claims it is the only facility in the country to produce filter cloth for N-99 masks.
“Ninty-nine per cent filtration is the highest among all types of masks available in India. There were many challenges initially, but with the untiring efforts of our highly competent scientists and research technicians, we were able to successfully develop this cloth and produce it on large scale,” ATIRA director Pragnesh Shah said.
The N-99 mask has five layers out of which two are of nano mesh which are inside and three outer layers are of cloth, he said.
“Currently, the filter cloth is manufactured at a state-of-the-art facility of ATIRA as per the WHO guidelines. The Government of India and the DRDO have recognised the efficiency of these masks,” Shah said.
The high quality cloth for over 3.5 lakh masks has already been handed over to DRDO, while production of more such material is going on, said ATIRA deputy director Deepali Palawat, who is heading the project.
“This project is the finest example of collaboration and coordination with the government. It was difficult to procure raw materials during the lockdown. The government has moved mountains to help us procure the raw materials and provided full support during the lockdown,” she said.
Palawat said it was difficult to convert the research centre into a production unit but a 15-member ATIRA staff, including scientific officers and technicians, are working round-the-clock to fulfill DRDO’s order of five lakh masks.
“The DRDO is getting these masks ready for health ministry officials, doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and top defence cadre, she said.