Press release

Dutch PPE Solutions starts large-scale production of filter material for medical facemasks

Geleen, NL, 07 May 2021 12:00 CEST

Dutch PPE Solutions, the joint venture of Royal DSM and VDL Groep, starts today with the production of virus filtering material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks in a newly built factory by DSM in Geleen, the Netherlands. Dutch PPE Solutions is the first to deliver professional facemasks with filter material that is made entirely on Dutch soil. With the production of the critical filter layer, meltblown polypropylene, in the Netherlands the joint venture makes Europe less dependent on supplies from overseas and ensures that professionals in healthcare and other sectors can always do their work safely. 

The opening today of the first production facility of meltblown polypropylene in the Netherlands creates greater resilience to surges in demand for medical facemasks and the underlying materials. The high-quality filter material is made from bio-based feedstock - used cooking oil - and the manufacturing machines run on renewable electricity. Dutch PPE Solutions’ ambition is to produce the most sustainable filter material for FFP2 and IIR facemasks.

From idea to sustainable large-scale production in record-time

The meltblown polypropylene manufacturing facility in Geleen was built in record-time. From idea, planning, construction, building and testing to large scale production took only months, three times faster than regular lead times. The first facemasks from Dutch PPE Solutions were delivered in January 2021, containing filter material from a non-Dutch supplier. From today, meltblown polypropylene filter material from Dutch PPE Solutions is also available to other customers in Europe.

DSM and VDL joined forces in September 2020 to meet the urgent need to diversify the global production and supply chains of personal protective equipment at scale by reducing dependency on a small number of international sources. DSM and VDL invested several million euros in manufacturing equipment to produce facemasks and in the new manufacturing facility for meltblown polypropylene. The joint venture employs dozens of people in its production locations in Geleen and Helmond, the Netherlands.

Dutch IIR facemask manufacturer MedProtex is Dutch PPE Solutions’ first customer of meltblown polypropylene. Cyrille Depondt, CEO MedProtex says: “To establish a sustainable, transparent and futureproof production chain of personal protection equipment, it is crucial to have access to raw materials close to home. The opening of the factory for high-quality critical filter material in Geleen is a testimony to entrepreneurship and a proofpoint for making our Dutch and European infrastructure more resilient for future pandemics. At MedProtex we believe in short, sustainable chains and transparency. Dutch PPE Solutions delivers just that. That’s why we decided to use their meltblown polypropylene filter material in our products. This powerful collaboration is Made in Holland and creates multiple value on economic, social and ecological level.”

Pieter Wolters, Vice President DSM Innovation Business Building and Member of the Dutch PPE Solutions Board: “The initial goal between DSM and VDL was to help when it was most needed and immediate actions were necessary in the fight against COVID-19. We learned during the early months of the pandemic what the risks are of full dependency of overseas suppliers and that a partial capacity of local manufacturing will provide better health and safety for the future. We promised we would do something about it and now we deliver. With the Geleen-based meltblown polypropylene production facility and the facemask production lines in Helmond we secured a Western European supply of facemasks and critical facemask components. Thereby we provide robust and reliable high-quality personal protection equipment to the healthcare workers and the population.”

Click here to take a virtual tour in the new meltblown polypropylene factory in Geleen.

Dutch PPE Solutions

Dutch PPE Solutions is a joint venture of VDL Groep and Koninklijke DSM that offers high-quality medical facemasks and filter material, entirely made in the Netherlands. The joint venture will help meet the urgent need to diversify the global, large-scale production and supply chains of personal protective equipment and reduce dependency on a limited number of manufacturers. The initial priority will be healthcare, while production will be gradually expanded to include facemasks for professionals in other sectors such as public transport, schools and educational institutions and companies across Europe. Reliability, availability, quality and socially responsible pricing are a key strategy of the joint venture.

For more information

Lieke de Jong-Tops

Senior Communications Manager
+31 45 578 2420

Dave Huizing

Vice President Investor Relations
+31 45 578 2864

André van der Elsen

DSM Communications
+31 45 578 2421

Miel Timmers

VDL Groep Communicatie
+ 31 6 1476 7066