Victorian factory starts production on millions of medical-grade face masks

A new, state-of-the-art factory at Campbellfield has begun producing millions of medical-grade face masks for the local, interstate and overseas market.

Softmed, a privately owned, Melbourne-based company, fast-tracked its new production line to service the needs of the Victorian population after parts of the state went into lockdown for the second time.

General manager Sergiy Tsimidanov says, “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.”

The factory 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 is committed to delivering as much of the supply chain for PPE as possible from Australian-made product and raw materials. It will allow the company to produce, not just masks and respirators but Australian-made gowns, shoe-covers, hats, sheets and other single-use PPE products to meet the needs of the medical sector.

Softmed is also commissioning a high-tech testing lab to quality assure all products. The lab is currently undergoing NATA certification.

And, in a boost to the local economy, the factory will employ up to 70 people when it hits full capacity later this year.

“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,” says Mr Tsimidanov.

Softmed is a privately-owned company whose two partners have deep experience in logistics and procurement of health products.

Before opening the factory, Softmed used its international expertise to bring millions of face masks into the country to help meet demand.

According to Mario Tascone – Director of Retail for Chemist Warehouse, “Softmed have been delivering face masks and respirators for use by Chemist Warehouse customers needing protection, since the very beginning of this pandemic.”

At the height of global COVID-19 export restrictions, Softmed was the only company to obtain a licence to export raw materials and PPE to Australia from Brazil. It was also able to secure PPE supplies from international suppliers, chartering foreign cargo flights to maintain supply for all Australians.