Farmers contracted to Carrfields Primary Wool are supplying specialist-breed 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 had a huge surge in demand since the covid-19 outbreak began.
Lanaco chief executive Nick Davenport said the company started making face masks only last year after significant research and development and is now struggling to keep up with demand.
“There is unprecedented demand worldwide for any type of respiratory protection.
“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, Davenport said.
“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 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.”
CP Wool chief executive Colin McKenzie 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, McKenzie said.
“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 NZ wool to a bigger global consumer base across a wide variety of sectors.”
While Lanaco operates mostly in the business-to-business market its face masks are now retail in pharmacies, healthcare providers and airport duty free stores around the world, Davenport says.