The year 2020 has not exactly been good for a lot of people. In fact, it has been one of the worst years for most people and that is thanks to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. This pandemic has changed all of our lives and has made even the simplest things so much more difficult. We have to stay isolated at home, quarantined, we need to respect the rules of social distancing, and most importantly, we have to wear face masks. But, there are some good things coming out of all of this.
Since everyone is required to wear a face mask to stay protected from the coronavirus, that industry right now is booming. The demand for such a product is so high these days, it is impossible for companies to bring enough supply. But, these companies are slowly readjusting and trying to satisfy that demand.
But, what will happen after 2020? What is going to happen when the need for a mask is gone after we get vaccines for COVID-19? Will people continue wearing them? Well, there are a lot of different possibilities on what could happen with the face mask industry and that is what I want to cover in this article.
There are not easy to make
It seems like a lot of people around the world are complaining that there are not enough protection face masks to satisfy the demand and that is true. But, they do not seem to understand that making these products is not easy. In fact, it is actually pretty difficult once you consider how the manufacturing process works. You need to make the loops for the ears, the perfect cloth size to cover the face, and the little metal string to keep the form of the mask. For all those steps, a different machine, a different manufacturing process is needed.
However, this does not mean that the companies in this industry are not ready and willing to tackle the problem of small supply. Every month, they are considerably increasing the number of masks they make every day.
New machines are needed
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the manufacturing process of this kind of product is a bit more complicated than what most people think. This is where most companies are bottlenecked. They have the resources, the required materials, but their machines are not able to produce quickly enough.
This is why so many of these businesses are looking for newer and better machines that have perfected the manufacturing process.
However, we cannot exactly expect that these brand-new machines will be invented and created in less than one year. 2020 is still not over and it is not enough to come up with new technology for manufacturing masks.
Although, there are definitely newer surgical face mask making machines out there that can produce a lot more pieces per minute. For example, the APL110 is able to produce 110 pieces every minute as suggested by testextextile.com. That is around 6600 pieces every hour. If you keep the machine working 24/7, it is going to manufacture 158,000 every day. That is millions a month.
When you compare that to some of the older machines, the numbers are huge. Some of those older machines not only produce fewer pieces per minute, but they also require assistance from human workforce. That is another serious downside.
Fortunately, a lot of experts believe that in 2021 or in the next couple of months, we will see newer and better mask making machines. I hope that this kind of information is true.
What will happen to the industry when the pandemic ends?
I have been wondering for these past few weeks on this topic. What exactly will happen mask-making industry when the pandemic comes to an end? It is not really important when that is going to happen. It is going to happen. It may be 2021, 2022, or much later. It may even be much sooner because of the news about the vaccine that is going to be released soon.
But, is the industry really going to suffer when the vaccine is issued? Well, the predictions are that it will not be that bad. Of course, there is going to be a considerable drop and sales, but it will never revert to how it used to be before COVID-19. It is expected that a lot of people will continue to use N95 or surgical masks because of hygiene. Many people will also be afraid to go out in public without one.
I am confident that the industry will continue with positive profits even after 2021, 2022, or whenever the virus goes away. Either way, everyone is going to be glad that the pandemic is over.
If you have trouble getting access to an N95 respirator or a surgical face masks in your city your country, it may not be because of limited supply. Of course, there is most definitely a limited supply, but that is not always the bottleneck.
Right now, the biggest problem that many countries face is distribution. Since many countries are in total lockdown and quarantined, getting any kind of shipment through borders is a much slower process.
I think it is safe to say that many countries have distribution problems in 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis. The distribution issue is not unique to just mask manufacturers. Even the electronics/tech industry is having problems with distribution. Graphics cards, processors, and other important bits of tech commonly get stuck into a distribution loop.
But, I hope that in the next few months, when things start to get better, that the distribution will improve for every industry, especially for the face mask industry. Those products are currently very important for the people, so they will probably get some kind of priority when going through borders and through shipping.
Keep in mind, we cannot exactly know what will happen in the future. These are just some possibilities and speculations about this industry. A lot of things could go a different way in 2021. I guess we just have to wait and see.