Engineers from the worlds largest planetarium have assembled a machine capable of producing up to 36,000 medical masks per day. Planetarium 1 a partner of the Roscongress Foundations Innovation Space will donate many of the masks to hospitals across St. Petersburg.
Developers from the planetarium built the semi-automatic mask-making machine in a record time of just one week. In the initial trial week, 10,000 three-ply advanced filtration masks were produced. The unique ultrasonic welder incorporated in the machine, together with every component right up to the circuit boards and control systems for welding the nonwoven fabric had not been previously seen in Russia.
Some of the masks have already reached retailers. Through the automation process, the planetarium has been able to reduce the price of each mask to RUB 40. In two weeks, as more equipment is assembled, the cost will come down further still. «All the revenue we receive through sales of our masks will go towards increasing production, and helping to overcome the serious deficit of personal protective equipment in St. Petersburg. Our team members are working 1214-hour shifts. As of next week, we plan to provide 3,0005,000 protective masks per week to doctors and public-sector employees in public-facing roles. However, we would urge those who are able to afford purchasing masks for themselves to do so. Then we will be able to increase production,» said Evgeny Gudov, Head of Planetarium 1.
In addition to modernizing the new machine, work is under way on creating a production line for melt-blown and spunbond nonwoven materials for personal protective equipment. There is a pressing need for such items, which are in short supply, and there is currently no equipment in Russia to produce them. The new machine will be trialled this week.
People can book tickets to Planetarium 1 online, which will be valid throughout 2020. Each booking comes with a delivery of 10 masks. The worlds largest planetarium was opened in 2017 by a team of enthusiasts, and is one of the five most-visited museums in St. Petersburg. Planetarium 1 incorporates SpaceLab a science and technology centre which is open to visitors, and where robots, equipment, and video content with world-class 3D graphics are designed and created. Now, the planetariums finest minds and technologies have been directed to fighting the pandemic.