Plastics during the Pandemic
In times of Coronavirus, plastics prove once again their importance for our lives. Without the usage of plastics, there would be no viable way to cope with the current pandemic. But let’s be a bit more specific: Which applications are we actually talking about when highlighting the material’s contributions against COVID-19?
Personal protective equipment ensures the wearer’s protection from infectious aerosols. More than this, it also prevents infected persons from spreading the virus. The most common piece of equipment in our everyday lives is the polypropylene mouth-nose mask which we already skilfully pull out of our jacket or trouser. The FFP2 and FFP3 respirators have been especially important for people who are in direct contact with infected people as medical personnel or helpers. Meanwhile, governments started to put in place the mandatory usage of these respirators – at least for certain contexts. For medical personnel, further protective clothing made of plastic is a daily companion: aprons, gowns or overalls, gloves and, of course, protective goggles.
Photo: Pixabay KlausHausmann
For the production of masks and other protective clothing, there is a need for specifc machinery: From the injection moulding machine, which was actually developed for mask production, to the 3D printer, which enables the production of large quantities of masks or even protective goggles. Especially companies with experience in the manufacturing of plastics machinery provide a vital support here.
Photo: © Gligatron/Shutterstock.com /
Image editing: Röhm GmbH
Since the beginning of the pandemic, transparent partition walls made of acrylic glass, such as Plexiglas® known by its brand name, have increasingly been found in public spaces. Combined with a face mask, they help minimising the risk of droplet infections and interrupt chains of infection at points of sale, at receptions, in pharmacies and in a wide variety of places where people come into contact with each other. Rapid domestic manufacturing processes enable these tools to be made available at short notice.
Plastics can be produced inexpensively, offer a high degree of sterility, are resistant to liquids, skin-friendly, easily mouldable, flexible and yet extremely stable. In addition – and unlike metals – they do not cause allergies. Thus, the material is ubiquitous in the medical field. This begins with antibacterial covers for transport couches and continues with sterile packaging, disposable syringes or blood bags. During operations and in intensive care medicine, plastics can be found in the form of ventilation hoses, valves for ventilation masks and various plastic components for ventilation equipment. In short: without plastics, there would be no modern medicine.
Transport of vaccines
Plastic containers play an important role in the transport of medical applications, for example as canisters filled with disinfectants. But even vaccines on which so much hope rests at this point in time, cannot go where they are urgently needed without the adequate transport solutions. Special insulated boxes made of EPS plastic ensure that the vaccines are deep-frozen while on the move as well as protected from damage – at the same time the containers are light, safe, cost-effective and even 100 percent recyclable.