LUCKNOW: The use of 'Swasa', the N95 face mask which PM Narendra Modi donned during Bhoomi Pujan ceremony for temple construction in Ayodhya on August 5, moved the manufacturers who decided to ramp up the manufacturing capacity to more than double by making 70,000 pieces a day.
The IIT- Kanpur backed start-up -- Espin Nanotech Private Limited -- is currently producing around 30,000 face masks a day from its production unit spread over 4,000 sq ft space on IIT-K premises. Now the manufacturers have collaborated with a Gujarat-based entity to expand the capacity to 70,000 pieces a day, sources claimed.
“This is indeed a great moment for the company that the Prime Minister showed trust in us by wearing our indigenously developed ‘Made in India’ product during the auspicious occasion in Ayodhya,” said the company’s director Sandip Patil said.
Even the firm has tied up with Flipkart for marketing of the masks. Moreover, Espin Nanotech has also launched a dedicated e-commerce site, swasa.in, to sell ‘Swasa’ face mask, a ‘Made in India’ product.
The IIT–K sources claimed that the startup had invested about Rs 3 crore and had plans to invest another Rs three crore in the next 2-3 months to augment the manufacturing capacity. The cost of each mask from Rs 60 to Rs 80 per piece.
Made up of ultra-soft fabric, Swasa, the anti-bacterial, and anti-viral face mask allows easy breathing, provides an adjustable ear loop, and is claimed to be effective for 100 hours of usage.
The manufacturers are planning to launch other categories of face masks, including self-cleaning and odour removal masks in an affordable range.
The manufacturers claimed that the product was developed last year to offer protection against bacteria and viruses in November 2019, much before the outbreak of the pandemic. It was aimed at providing protection against heightened air pollution that was hitting many cities including Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, and other cities across the country.
The company even exported the product to Thailand, Malaysia, European countries, etc before the exports of medical safety products were banned with the spread of the deadly virus.
Earlier, the Centre had turned to the premier research institutions, including the IITs, for developing tech-enabled solutions to deal with the pandemic and come up with affordable safety gear, including masks. Over the past months, IIT-K had taken the lead in coming up with several products, including face mask, ventilators, etc.