Emerson was enlisted to provide ultrasonic welding equipment to help a surgical mask supplier meet increased demand, described as a 29-fold increase in annual production.
In March 2020, Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD) asked its only domestic supplier, MedCon, to produce 58 million Level 3 surgical masks in just eight months, according to a statement provided by Emerson. MedCon execs told DoD officials that meeting the goal required revamping three old mask-making machines and building five new ones, all without the benefit of original blueprints. Citing national urgency, DoD officials agreed, offering procurement help and assigning a team of 27 military engineers to provide assistance, it was reported.
Machine builder Foodmach lead the machine-modernization and -building project, which required delivery of three modernized machines in eight weeks and five new ones just six weeks later. For ultrasonic welding equipment, project managers contacted Emerson through its regional representative, Consonic Pty. They sought 34 Branson welding units to equip the eight mask-making machines (four welding stations each) with two spares. Each unit would require a 20 Hertz Branson DCX power supply, a matched converter and booster, and a custom-fabricated sonotrode.
Australia’s DoD needed fast delivery, so Emerson’s U.S.-based manufacturing facility shipped the 34 units in three orders, with each order ready to ship in about 10 days. Following overnight shipment to Australia, the Consonic team stepped in, providing Branson technical support for Foodmach machine builders and weld training for MedCon equipment operators. Emerson reported that in each of MedCon’s mask-making machines, two Branson welders continuously “stitch weld” multiple layers of nonwoven fabric into mask laminates trimmed with fabric tape. The third welder bonds nonwoven tie straps to each side, while the fourth embosses a MedCon logo. Each welder relies on a custom-built sonotrode from Consonic.
Helped by the prompt ultrasonics delivery, Foodmach completed all mask-making machines on or ahead of schedule, putting MedCon on track to meet its mask-production goal, Emerson reported.