Testing machine advances filtration, face mask development and effectiveness
New Zealand nanofibre manufacturer Revolution Fibres has made a significant investment in a testing machine to enhance the development and performance of its filtration media.
The PALAS PMFT 1000 testing rig – one of the world’s leading machines for testing protective face masks and filtration efficiency – analyses the ability of masks to filter particles, bacteria, and viruses such as Covid-19.
Overseas, to help contain Covid-19 spread and better protect frontline health workers and patients during the pandemic, PALAS has been providing numerous hospitals with the ability to test the protective masks they use.
Revolution Fibres’ new PALAS machine is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
Ray Connor, Revolution Fibres CEO, says the machine is key to advancing the performance of its SETA nanofibre filter media product which is used in face masks that meet and exceed N95 and N99 standards.
“The PALAS enables us to test face masks to ensure they meet required standards and properly protect people and health workers who are on the frontline of the pandemic in New Zealand and around the world.”
The pedigree of PALAS’ technology speaks for itself, says Connor, with its certified fine dust measurement, in the context of environmental monitoring, making it one of the most important partners for manufacturers and suppliers when testing filters and filter media.
PALAS gives Revolution Fibres the opportunity to test its filters instantly at the required international standards, as opposed to sending the material overseas to be tested.
Once its products are ready to take to market, they are then sent to a third-party testing lab for certification.
“Research and development are at the heart of what we do and the PALAS enables us to continue to analyse, develop, and advance new filter media applications before taking them to market.”
The testing rig is able to evaluate respiratory masks more effectively than standard testing with an exact analysis of filter mask efficiency for SARS-CoV-2 (size approx. 120 nm up to 160 nm).
“A lot of the work we do to enhance and improve our products involves increasing the capability of nanofibre filtration media. As part of this, we compare the performance of our SETA product to traditional filtration media using the PALAS machine as it provides us with incredibly specific data and results.”
The machine has played an instrumental role in the advancement of its new filter media with added functionality, including anti-microbial properties.
Dr Gareth Beckermann, Technical Manager at Revolution Fibres, says the diameters of nanofibre range from 10 – 300 nanometres, which is 10 – 100 times smaller than conventional melt-blown microfibres, meaning they are very effective in protecting against viruses such as COVID, bacteria and other toxic particles.
“It means nanofibre filter media is very effective in protecting against viruses such as COVID, bacteria and other toxic particles which can be just 100 nanometres. Our nanofibre filter media can trap 99% of microscopic particles such as spores, allergens, and bacteria.”
Revolution Fibres supplies filtration media to multiple overseas face mask manufacturers, such as HALO in the US, and HVAC systems including leading New Zealand home solutions company HRV.
Nanofibre filter media is widely recognised as one of the more breathable fabrics available for filter media.
Using a proprietary electrospinning process Revolution Fibres creates nanofibre rolls in lengths of hundreds of metres long and tens of thousands of square metres for export to markets such as Asia, Australia, and the US.
Connor says the PALAS machine is one of the key parts of the company’s growth trajectory which has seen it scale up dramatically in the last year to meet international demand for SETA filter media, skincare product ActivLayr, and acoustic insulation product Phonix.