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Personal protective equipment (PPE) was first used in the 16th Century by plague doctors in Europe. It included boots, gloves, glass eye coverings, helmets, and full-length gowns. The masks were beak-like structures filled with pleasant-smelling spices, herbs, and flowers to prevent the smell of ‘bad air.’ Today, these gears come with numerous unique features to provide maximum safety and durability.
According to a report by Fortune Business Insights™, the global market size for PPE is projected to reach USD 92.86 billion by 2027. The increasing construction and infrastructure development projects in India, China, and the U.S. are anticipated to affect the market positively. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly referred to as OSHA mentions that nearly 100 to 200 deaths occur every year on account of construction-related falls worldwide. Government bodies are thus implementing strict norms to prevent such grievous injuries at workplaces.
COVID-19 Pandemic: Establishment of Domestic Supply Chains to Support Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted supply chains, governments, industries, and people unlike any other crisis since World War II. The personal protective equipment industry has come under the limelight because of this pandemic. It made various countries realize the importance of establishing domestic supply chains instead of importing them. For instance, in June 2020, a large number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India started contributing to the supply aspect of this industry. The World Health Organization (WHO) also declared that the industry should surge its manufacturing by 40% to enhance supply in 2020.
Fortune Business Insights™ Presents a List of Top 10 Personal Protective Equipment Manufacturers:
Founded 115 years ago by Mark C. Honeywell, the company is a leading provider of safety and productivity solutions (SPS), aerospace, performance materials & technologies (PMT), and building technologies. It recently converted a few of its manufacturing facilities in Germany, Michigan, Arizona, and Rhode Island for producing PPE for healthcare workers to keep up with the high demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2020, for instance, Honeywell International, Inc. expanded its production capacity in the U.K. for the manufacturing of 4.5 million FFP3 and FFP2 face masks every month. At the same time, it signed an agreement worth USD 1.2 billion to acquire Norcross Safety Products L.L.C. in April 2020. This acquisition would help the company to broaden its portfolio of safety equipment.
The 3M Company operates in the fields of consumer goods, U.S. health care, worker safety, and industry. It houses around 60,000 products under a wide range of brands containing paint protection films, window films, personal protective equipment, passive fire protection, orthodontic & dental products, car-care products, and adhesives. Back in 1972, the company first developed the N95 respirator mask that could easily filter out viral particulates. The same was recommended by healthcare institutions in December 2019 to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.
In January 2021, 3M surged the annual production capacity of N95 masks to 2.5 billion annually. As per one of the company officials, “We received a contract worth USD 76 million from the federal government in April 2020 to increase our capacity. We have already added 120,000 square feet to our respirator plant situated in South Dakota.”
It is an Australian manufacturer of protective medical and industrial gloves. It possesses numerous sub-brands operating worldwide only for gloves. Some of them are Edge, Microflex, HyFlex, Encore, AlphaTec, and Gammex.
Ansell acquired the Life Science business of Primus, a renowned specialty pharmaceutical company based in India in March 2021. This acquisition would help the former to bolster growth of its Life Science business and strengthen its position in the country. In August 2020, the company introduced its #NetworkofHeroes program to support non-PPE manufacturers with required equipment and capacity expansions for the production of gowns and coveralls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded in 2017, DuPont de Nemours, Inc., popularly known as DuPont, is considered to be one of the largest chemical companies in the world. It aims to help customers accelerate their unique ideas and provide specialized solutions to change everyday life and industries. From meeting the high demand for clean water to helping electric cars charge rapidly, the company works side-by-side with other reputed firms operating in various sectors.
In April 2020, for instance, DuPont joined hands with Cummins to help people cope with the shortage of N95 masks owing to COVID-19. The company’s Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT) will be used by the latter’s NanoForce® and NanoNet® Media technology to produce these masks for healthcare professionals.
It is a Government of India recognized organization headquartered in Kolkata. It distributes, exports, and manufactures a wide range of PPE. It provides affordable products without compromising in quality. The company is currently focusing on crafting and designing its products with the finest materials to help people meet their requirements.
In February 2021, for instance, Mallcom (India) Limited announced the acquisition of 100% stakes in Best Safety Pvt. Ltd. (BSPL), a manufacturer of safety shoes. It would help the company to gain more profits and lower production costs.
Mine Safety Appliances (MSA) is a U.S.-based manufacturer of safety products to help workers prevent exposure to various toxic materials. Its product line includes thermal imaging cameras, gas monitoring instruments, breathing apparatus, military communications systems, ballistic body armor, and respirators. The company was formed in 1914 with the assistance of Thomas Edison.
MSA acquired Bristol Uniforms in January 2021 worth USD 60 million. It would help the company to broaden its presence in the U.K. and other European countries. At the same time, it would be a great addition to MSA’s supply chain of safety equipment manufacturing.
It is a prominent manufacturer of high-quality PPE for the safety, construction, and industrial markets. It develops products by fostering a culture of excellence, flexibility, and innovation. Its two best-selling product ranges include Crossfire and DEWALT. The company constantly participates in partnerships and acquisitions to expand its processes and product offerings.
For instance, in August 2020, Radians introduced five latest products that will be sold under the DEWALT brand. They contain a no-line bifocal safety glass, two work gloves, a Ripstop rain jacket, and a deluxe hooded sweatshirt. Similarly, in March 2020, the company donated more than 14,000 N95 masks in Shelby County and the City of Memphis to prevent COVID-19.
It is a multi-award-winning manufacturer of safety footwear. At present, the company is engaging in partnerships with renowned component producers to create state-of-the-art products. It has diversified and rationalized its product lines in recent years to offer new collections for its customers.
In November 2020, Rock Fall announced its decision to remain open and continue operation as usual to deliver novel services to its customers on the frontline and authorized distribution partners across the U.K. amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was recently recognized as an outstanding controller of COVID-19 by the ISO 45001:2018 H&S audit.
It is a Japan-based information technology, pharmaceutical, and chemical company founded in 1918. Its core fields of operations are polyester fibers, resin & plastic processing, healthcare, aramid, films, composites, carbon fibers, and other IT products. It comprises 95 companies overseas and 56 in Japan, as of March 2014.
In April 2020, for instance, the fibers converting organization of Teijin Group started delivering medical gowns in Japan to help tackle the transmission of COVID-19. Between April and June, it supplied around 9 million products. This initiative would also expand the country’s sewing industry.
It has been a leader in the field of PPE since the last 45 years. Its offerings include garments, glasses, and gloves that are created from premium materials to provide maximum safety. It owns a 500,000 square foot production and distribution facility in Memphis. In manufacturing operations, it has won several awards, such as New Product of the Year Innovations.
MCR Safety recently launched face masks to broaden its product line of PPE. It has also upgraded its 360-protection program for operating virtually. The platform is specially developed to perform an assessment of safety gear performance. It would also provide an emphasis on risk reduction, productivity, and cost savings.
Would the Future of This Industry be Built on Nanomaterials and Wearable PPE?
The emergence of wearable PPE is set to transform the future in a positive way. Some of the newest iterations can check and record biometrics, such as respiration, heart rate, and body temperature on a regular basis. As per IBM, this technology would soon turn into a crucial part of workplace safety programs. Additionally, the development of unique PPE made of nanomaterials would provide greater comfort in the upcoming years. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Nanotechnology Center, for instance, is currently conducting research and development activities to come up with more scratch-resistant and robust plastic spectacles and face masks with high reflectivity and transparency.
-Written by Reeti Banerjee