With COVID-19 spreading fast and masks becoming harder and harder to come by, concerns are rising that mask manufacturers in South Korea may have to stop their production due to a shortage of melt blown filters.
At present, 12 companies are manufacturing mask filters in South Korea and their combined daily production capacity is equivalent to 10 million masks. As of the end of last month, South Korean mask manufacturers’ daily production capacity was 10.6 million units. Although the two figures are close to each other, the difference accumulated day by day is leading to the shortage.
Under the circumstances, some water purifier and air cleaner filter manufacturers have begun to produce mask filters by modifying their production lines. The examples include air cleaner HEPA filter manufacturer Clean & Science and spunbond manufacturer Toray Advanced Materials.
However, most filter manufacturers are reluctant to follow suit. This is because such modification requires additional investment, and they must produce more air cleaner filters for their existing orders. Besides, melt blown filter imports from China recently dropped, which means the supply of the filters is likely to become more and more difficult.