June 2 2020 – A superior face mask product developed by an innovative New Zealand company using New Zealand wool is now under extremely high demand globally.
Farmers contracted to Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool) are supplying specialist-breed New Zealand Astino wool to air filter producer Lanaco, which uses it as the key ingredient in a vast range of air filtration applications.
Lanaco’s protective face masks which feature its ‘Helix’ wool air filters have now received a huge surge in demand since the global Covid-19 outbreak began.
Nick Davenport, CEO of Lanaco, says the company only started making face masks last year following significant research and development work, and is now struggling to keep up with global demand for the product.
“There is unprecedented demand worldwide for any type of respiratory protection at the moment. We are producing our face masks in the greatest volume we can, but we currently can’t keep up with demand and we expect this situation to remain in place for a long time.”
Not all face masks are created equal and the wool filter in Lanaco’s product puts it head and shoulders above the rest, says Mr Davenport.
“Natural wool fibre has amazing capabilities which synthetics can’t match. Wool is the world’s most positively-charged fibre, which translates to an electrostatic filter which acts as a magnet to capture a whole range of particles in the air. It’s naturally bacteria-static, so germs don’t remain on it and it naturally absorbs toxins.”
As well as a high level of material capture (including viral particles and air pollutants like bushfire smoke), the face masks also have low breathing resistance, which is a very important factor, he says.
“Many face masks on the market are difficult to breathe naturally through, so people aren’t comfortable when wearing them. Our masks are two to three times easier to breathe through than other products, so they are easy to wear.”
Colin McKenzie, CEO of CP Wool, says the company’s exclusive partnership with Lanaco is a fantastic example of how the versatility and quality of natural wool can be showcased through innovative product development.
“Wool is a highly versatile natural fibre which is being used in more and more applications in both consumer and industrial sectors. With an increasing number of environmentally-aware consumers now actively avoiding synthetic fibres, it’s fantastic to be working with a company like Lanaco which is championing the value and benefits of wool.”
Natural wool is sustainable, compostable and naturally resistant to bacteria growth, which makes it ideal for use in healthcare applications such as face masks, says Mr McKenzie.
“Wool fibres are naturally equipped to manage moisture levels, which prevents the build-up of bacteria. Wool is also naturally fire resistant and, of course, biodegradable – making it a highly superior and versatile product.
“Working with Lanaco is just one of several industry partnerships we’ve embarked on, as we forge ahead with our plans to take New Zealand wool to a bigger global consumer base across a wide variety of sectors.”
While Lanaco mainly operates in the business-to-business market, its face masks are now available to consumers via selected pharmacies, healthcare providers and airport duty free stores around the world, Mr Davenport says.
About Carrfields Primary Wool Ltd (CP Wool)
Carrfields Primary Wool is jointly owned by Ashburton-based global agribusiness group Carrfields and wool growers’ organisation Primary Wool Co-Operative. It offers wool brokerage services throughout New Zealand, delivering access to local and international markets. The company operates from wool stores in 11 locations, delivering a wide range of specialist wool services, on-farm and off, focusing on maximising returns to its woolgrower clients and expanding their marketing opportunities through its network of field staff.