UFlex & IIT Delhi develop PPE, approved by DRDO

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UFlex, one of India’s largest multinational flexible packaging company and a global player in polymer sciences has recently developed a personal protective equipment (PPE) coverall ‘Flex Protect’ in joint collaboration with IIT-Delhi and INMAS, DRDO, Delhi. Flex Protect that comes with four-layered protection and anti-microbial coating has been approved by The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for use by the front-line health workers who are fighting the battle against COVID-19.

The protective coverall is made from a combination of non-woven polypropylene fabric and further impregnated with anti-microbial PP coating through a special process to increase the breathability. As compared to other PPE kits, the flex-protect coverall standard is made of 70 GSM which makes it very comfortable and flexible, and fit to be worn for long hours as well.

In Flex Protect coverall standard, there are four layers of security starting with the first zipper, followed by velcro, a second zipper, and finally a permanent seal tape. The edges of the PPE kit are secured with high strength seam cover that shields all the holes created during stitching. The coveralls are designed with a double forearm, providing safety for the healthcare workers. The equipment comes with a multi-layer fastening that seals all the inlet ways.

Listing the attributes and USP of the PPE Coverall, N Siva Shankaran, vice president – Packaging Business at UFlex says, “Most PPE coverall available in the market are not breathable at all. The user sweats heavily due to perspiration and this causes a great deal of discomfort to them. Flex Protect has almost 30% better breathability while also conforming to ISO 16603 (resistance to blood and body fluids) which is mandatory against infection-causing virus not to enter the coverall through the fabric.”

Adding, “Breathability and ultimate protection by design are the USPs of Flex Protect. It is far superior to the fabric available in the market thereby giving utmost comfort and ultimate protection to the para-medical staff who are currently in great danger of contamination and discomfort.”

The PPE Coverall developed by UFlex and IIT-Delhi has been tested well for being anti-microbial. The South Indian Textiles Research Association (SITRA) has certified the fabric of PPE Coverall being compliant with the Dry Microbial Penetration Resistance Test thereby implying fabric’s protection against infectious agents. The anti-microbial coating will help in eliminating the microbes which come in contact with the surface of the coverall, thereby creating the first line of defense”.

On achieving this feat, Jeevaraj Pillai, joint president, Packaging, and New Product Development, UFlex said, “With rising cases of corona and scarcity of PPE Coverall, UFlex and IIT-Delhi recognized the opportunity towards playing a vital part in the battle against COVID-19. We synergized our expertise in developing a coverall that arrests the existing challenges in PPE coverall and elevating the security of healthcare and other front-line workers who wear these coveralls for hours together. With the launch of our PPE coverall that combines the advantages of long wear and complete defense against coronavirus, we aim to make the world’s citizens safe, by arming the front-line workers with Flex Protect coveralls. The approval from DRDO is hugely encouraging for us, adding impetus to our efforts.”

On successful development of this revolutionary kit, Harpal Singh, head, Centre for Biomedical Engineering at IIT- Delhi said, “Centre for BioMedical Engineering, IIT, Delhi has worked very closely with UFlex Limited, Noida on the development of breathable fabric to be used in Flex Protect coverall. The response and reaction time in the development was fast and excellent and it is the endeavor of IIT to collaborate with industrial partners for research and development to strengthen the domestic industry capability for providing devices and products in times of national emergencies. IIT Delhi is happy to have UFlex as our industrial partner in this challenging project.”

UFlex is participating in the tender of various government requirements to supply the PPE coveralls which will be retailed via chemists and eCommerce platforms.

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