In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Taiwan’s government coordinated and multiplied the production capacity for surgical masks to ensure a sufficient supply to both medical workers and the general public.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, in conjunction with the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMTABA), have called on nearly 30 machinery tool and equipment component manufacturers to cooperate with not-for-profit institutions such as Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Precision Machinery Research & Development Center, the Metal Industries Research and Development Centre, and the Textile Industry Research Institute in forming the “National Mask Production Team,” helping mask manufacturers to create and deploy related production machinery. While Chang Hong Machinery Co., Ltd. and Nonwoven (NCM) were responsible for providing the needed machinery, ITRI has delegated experienced engineers to assist NCM in setting up machines and downstream production lines. ITRI’s abundant expertise in machinery assembly has helped in getting equipment in place so that production lines could be brought online promptly. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Mask Production Team, 60 mask production lines, which would under normal circumstances require six months to complete, were established within one month, achieving the goal of a daily production of 10 million masks in March.
To encourage industry players to participate in epidemic prevention, Premier Su Tseng-chang, Minister without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin, and Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin in the middle of February personally toured NCM to understand the process involved in building necessary machinery on an emergency basis as well as related mask manufacturing technology and ultrasonic components. They also provided encouragement to employees who were working virtually around the clock, and they thanked them for their efforts at this critical juncture.
ITRI President Edwin Liu stated that ITRI responded immediately in dispatching engineers to factories in early February to assist in machine installation, wiring, and calibration. ITRI technicians and engineers worked closely with those from machine tool companies to help factories boost their mask production as soon as possible. “In this pandemic crisis, it is important for all sectors of the government and the private sector to cooperate to complete this mission impossible,” he stressed.