COVID-19 outbreak: Reliance starts manufacturing 'affordable PPE' for frontline workers
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike in India, Reliance Industries is racing to manufacture protective gear for workers on the frontline. The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate has re-purposed its newly-acquired textile company Alok Industries into a full-fledged Personal Protective Equipment maker and is already making a fifth of India's daily PPE production at a third of import cost. Here's more about it.
Producing over 1 lakh PPE kits per day
Back in mid-April, Reliance converted the Silvassa plant of Alok Industries into a PPE manufacturing unit. The company, according to PTI's sources, integrated technology and raw material from its petrochemical plants and deployed as many as 10,000 tailors to re-engineer the facility. It is now producing more than one lakh PPE kits every day, making a fifth of India's daily PPE production capacity.
Kits made from high-grade polypropylene
The PPE kits from Alok Industries include single piece zip-up suits made from high-grade polypropylene, a material that ensures opacity while being very light to wear. The suit is covered with anti-microbial tape and bundled with other standard protective gear, including hand gloves, shoe covers, three-ply or N95 face masks, headgear, and a face shield.
Cost slashed to a third of import price
What is even more interesting is the fact that Reliance is making these high-quality kits at extremely affordable rates. Typically, a single PPE kit imported from China costs Rs. 2,000, but these are being manufactured at a cost of just Rs. 650 per unit. Notably, Indian companies began manufacturing PPE kits only after COVID-19 started spreading in the country.
Export plans for the future
The sources familiar with the development added that the company may start exporting the kits in the future. For now, it is only focusing on scaling up the production and making these kits available to as many frontline workers (from doctors to nurses to those working at testing facilities) as possible to help India fight the ongoing pandemic more effectively.