Even in India, loss-making companies are trying to think innovatively, either by considering new products or by adapting existing ones. From individual masks and face shields to digital infrared thermometers and disinfection tunnels.
Take the category facial masks. A report recently published in the medical journal Lancet states that wearing a face mask can actually reduce the risk of infection by only 3%. According to the report, face shields and goggles can provide important protection. The full report is based on 172 observations in 16 countries and six continents.
In the light of what is happening with Covid-19, luxury is no longer an option for many people today. Anyone who wants to buy supplies and facial masks is an absolute necessity. Who doesn’t? Without him I wouldn’t have left my house, says Dalveer Singh, director of The Flag Company, based in Mumbai. The company, which produces flags, banners and fabric light boxes with lighting, has recently focused on the production of face masks.
It was marketed with adaptable face masks made of two-layer fabric that are breathable, UV-resistant and washable. They are made of 100% woven polyester and can be custom made for a specific brand or company. These are individual masks for children and masks on which half the face can also be printed. This is a great way to advertise and recognize the importance of face masks today. So far, everyone – from small to large companies – has shown an interest in the product. We also expect their exports to start soon, adds Singh.
Currently the company has set a minimum order quantity of 12 pieces. But the website ₹125 also takes into account the availability factor for each of them. As long as no vaccine or medicine is used, people will use every possible means for good disinfection: one is hand disinfectant and the other is a face mask, adds Singh.
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Face masks from Strutt’s shop.
The Strutt store, a start-up in Neud, Uttar Pradesh, designed travel bags and accessories, but has since developed into handmade face masks. When the pandemic broke out, tourist activity collapsed. But we chose these masks because the journey itself will never end. People don’t move from city to city, but they do travel short distances. The idea was to design these masks to be safe, says Vichez Hosla, a member of the founding team of The Strutt Store. The team conducted extensive market research before focusing on handmade four-layer masks made from denim, linen and khadi cotton. For protection, two filter layers are used in each mask, one of which is antibacterial. These are the same layers used for surgical masks, says Hosla, adding that after a quiet period of work, they now receive orders for up to 150-200 masks per day. They cost less than ₹269 for a set of three.
It’s not just about facial masks. The disinfection tunnel has also captured the imagination of the manufacturers. These tunnels and cameras for shopping malls, offices and areas where large numbers of people enter every day are located all over the world. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the covid 19 virus can survive for hours or even days on inanimate surfaces.
In April, the Union Ministry of Health issued an opinion expressing its concern about the use of these tunnels or the spraying of disinfectants or disinfection products on humans. The Ministry has pointed out in numerous news reports that disinfectants can cause physical and mental damage. However, in the same month, the National Chemical Laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pune and the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) in Mumbai issued a statement stating that, according to the report, the advice had no scientific basis in Hindu.
Manufacturers are responding to this situation. Our usual business hasn’t been going so well lately. Before the blockade, I saw some cuts of WhatsApp in these sanitary tunnels used in China and other countries. I thought, why don’t we use our manufacturing experience to make good use of it here and design a similar tunnel? says Rajan Chadha, founder of Road Point India Ltd, a Delhi-based safety equipment company that mainly designs GPS trackers for vehicles. It’s also a useful way to maintain a steady flow of income to pay our employees, he adds.
Chadha then manufactured the necessary parts for these tunnels: Iron bars for frame, nozzles, etc. Road Point India now sells two models already installed in some schools and private offices in Delhi, even on the M-block market in Grand Kailash-1, he says. For branding reasons, Chadha has included these tunnels in the product category of the crown on a new, separate website. The models cost ₹64.000 each and ₹1.10 la, he says.
Many shopping malls, cinemas, schools and dormitories now also offer a helping hand. When a stranger enters certain rooms, he wants to be disinfected, Chadha adds. He added that the company only produces and delivers tunnels. We have no word or indication on the type of disinfectant used in the tunnels. It’s our job to take care of the mechanism, he says.
There’s a lot more. From protective keys to prevent contact with surfaces to pedal disinfectants, the growing number of innovations is one of the few good results of this pandemic.
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The FaceARMOR front panel is also available in a transparent version.
Shield of trust
The Desmania Design studio, based in Manesare (Haryana), uses rapid prototyping and 3D pressing techniques to produce a face mask. People made either disposable masks or ordinary (not necessarily reusable) screens, which caused problems for waste disposal, says Anui Prasad, founder of the design studio.
FaceARMOR is a mask, a safety mask and a modular filter. There will be two options: one for normal users and one fully transparent, mainly for doctors. The whole aspect of human relationships is actually based on the person and his or her mimicry, Prasad says. We were thinking of designing a transparent panel where you can see the face… Trust (between patient and doctor) is actually built by looking at each other and understanding what they are talking about, he adds.
These windbreaks, which cost ₹500-1,200, are made of clear polycarbonate or PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and can be washed and reused. We have identified four main (customs) areas: Delivery drivers, industrial workers, police, travellers and doctors, says Prasad, who hopes to start deliveries this month.
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