China's Aviation Giant Joins in Face Mask Production

Professionals from a leading Chinese plane maker have injected aviation technologies into the design and making of an automated face mask machine to support the country's novel coronavirus epidemic fight.

The fully automated face mask making machine has been developed by the AVIC Manufacturing Technology Institute (AVIC MTI) within only 16 days, capable of churning out up to 140,000 face masks a day, or around 100 per minute.

"Face masks are among the most urgently needed epidemic prevention gears. We tried our utmost and used all available resources to support the nationwide epidemic fight," said Li Zhiqiang, president of the AVIC MTI who is also chief director of this project.

By the end of this month, a total of 24 such machines will have been put into use, capable of making around 3 million face masks daily.

It was an unexpected mission for Li and his team of aviation professionals in the AVIC MTI, a comprehensive research institute that specializes in aviation-oriented advanced manufacturing technologies, materials and equipment.

"The first thing I did after receiving the task was typing three words into my mobile search engine: mask making machine," Li said, admitting that he had barely known anything about face mask machine.

Of course, it was a completely new field for this expert who had devoted more than three decades to aero-engine titanium alloys.

This time, he and his team are facing a new challenge of developing a machine to make face masks with materials such as melt-blown nonwovens and non-woven fabric.

In only 16 days, the AVIC MTI together with seven other member companies of the AVIC realized the whole process of developing the machine: design, manufacturing, assembly, debugging and trial production.

"When the first face mask rolled off the machine, we were extremely excited, just like witnessing the maiden flight of planes," Li recalled.

Chinese aviation professionals of the team integrated technologies and experience from developing aviation equipment into the face mask making machine, such as ultrasonic welding technology, modular design and precise temperature control.

The face masks are not simply connections of several layers of fabrics, but protective equipment that safeguard medics and citizens alike in everyday work and life.

"The development team adopted multiple techniques which we apply in aerospace manufacturing. The aviation-quality design and manufacturing will ensure the stable and efficient operation of the face mask machines," Sun said.

For example, ultrasonic welding technology and precise temperature control ensure the firm melting of multiple layers of the mask. And the modular design allows the mask plants to easily organize production and conduct maintenance works.

"Besides the medical and daily usages, the nationwide resumption of factories and schools also brings huge demands for masks. We must make our machines work smoothly and effectively," Sun added.

Source: xinhua

Editor: Crystal H

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