The ongoing corona pandemic has created great global demand for respiratory protection. Electrolux’s factory in Sweden, which manufactures vacuum cleaner bags, is now quickly switching parts of its operations to be able to produce at least one million face masks per month. The Swedish research institute and project partner RISE has tested and CE-marked the face masks according to the European standard EN149. The project is co-financed with Vinnova, Sweden´s innovation agency.
The factory Electrolux Filter AB in Sweden normally produces vacuum cleaner bags in a material similar to respiratory protection. Through an innovative modification of the existing production line and the material, the factory can now start producing face masks too. As the company tells, the change from idea to prototype has only taken three weeks, a process which normally takes at least six months for delivery and commissioning of new machines. The respiratory protection will be used in Electrolux factories globally. The production also makes it possible to provide Swedish health care with much needed protective equipment. Therefore, healthcare staff at Stockholm South General Hospital (Södersjukhuset) have contributed to the development of Electrolux respiratory protection through prototype testing. RISE, as the sole notified body in Sweden for personal protective equipment, has tested the face masks which are the first to also receive CE marking via RISE for use in Europe.
«When people started making facemasks at home from vacuum cleaner bags – says Maria Larsson, Factory Manager at Electrolux Filter AB – we realized the enormous need in society for protection equipment. In collaboration with RISE, we are now switching to a production of respiratory protection while our regular operations are ongoing. We have the know-how and the technical conditions to be able to give back to society in the ongoing pandemic, so it was an easy decision.»