Island Harmac Pacific doubles cedar pulp for medical masks and gowns
Nanaimo, B.C. - Nanaimobased Harmac Pacific has doubled its output of paper pulp to meet the demand of manufacturers of disposable surgical masks, gowns and other medical products.
These disposable products are in short supply due to the COVID-19 crisis and there is a U.S. demand for K10S pulp. “It’s a customer out of the States and we’ve been supplying them for years, but in light of what’s going on in the lack of medical supplies, they’ve doubled their order with us in the last week, so we’re doing everything we can to meet that demand,” said Levi Sampson, Harmac president.
The Harmac mill is the world’s only producer of the particular grade of paper pulp, used in the manufacture of surgical masks and gowns, and the mill has been producing it since 2008.
K10S pulp is made from western red cedar that produces a soft fibre making it suitable for medical products. “It’s been tweaked over the years to come up with the right formula that allows it to go into the medical supplies,” Sampson said.
The mill is located on more than 100 hectares and is running a program of extra cleaning and disinfecting of washrooms, work stations and other facilities, and the workers on each shift should be able socially distance and maintain workplace conditions that will help them prevent spreading the virus.
“We’re making a product that’s finding its way to those front lines,” Sampson said. “So, that’s why we’re doing it.” he said, adding that there is an adequate supply of western red cedar chips to meet its production needs. Sampson said the mill will do whatever it can to produce as much of the K10S pulp as it can to fill future orders for more if needed.
Harmac Pacific operates a Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp mill located on the east coast of Vancouver Island near Nanaimo, British Columbia. Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd., an employee owned company, is the owner of the Harmac Pacific trademark.