Melbourne-based company Softmed has begun producing millions of medical-grade face masks at its new state-of-the-art factory in Campbellfield and expects to employ 70 people when it hits full capacity later this year.
The company has fast-tracked its new production line and will begin by producing a minimum of 180-million 3-ply surgical masks and 60-million P2/N95 standard respirators a year, supplying to the Australian market as well as the USA, Europe and the Middle East.
Softmed General Manager Sergiy Tsimidanov said: “This is an incredibly exciting time. We are able to produce millions of high-quality, medical-grade face masks and other PPE at a time people need reassurance that they will be wearing a high-quality product.”
“This factory is absolutely, state-of-the-art and we have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to make it a reality. What should have taken a year, we’ve done in a matter of months. Anyone wearing a Softmed mask can be confident that they have a product that has been designed to the required standards in Australia,” said Mr Tsimidanov.
The company said it is committed to delivering as much of the supply chain for PPE as possible from Australian-made product and raw materials. This will allow the company to produce, not just masks and respirators but also Australian-made gowns, shoe-covers, hats, sheets and other single-use PPE products to meet the needs of the medical sector.
Before opening the factory, Softmed was the only company to obtain a licence to export raw materials and PPE to Australia from Brazil, despite the COVID-19 export restrictions. It was also able to secure PPE supplies from international suppliers, chartering foreign cargo flights to maintain supply for all Australians.
Director of Retail for online pharmacy Chemist Warehouse Mario Tascone said Softmed has been delivering face masks and respirators for use by their customers since the very beginning of the pandemic.
“Knowing Softmed will be manufacturing in Australia and controlling almost the entire supply chain is very reassuring. The company is implementing the highest standards of manufacturing to their masks, which means every Australian can have confidence both in the supply and quality of Softmed masks,” Mr Tascone said.
Softmed’s lab is currently undergoing NATA certification and the company is also commissioning a high-tech testing lab to quality-assure all products.