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Chinese aviation industry reconverts to produce face masks

And what does the Italian Leonardo make?

AVIC, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, through its Avic Manufacturing Technology Institute (Avic Mti), has developed -in a few days days according to the authoritative "Xinhua"- a new production line designed specifically for the realization of facial masks in series, to support the fight against the new coronavirus in the country. The industry is therefore now able to churn out up to 140,000 masks per day, or about 100 per minute, in a fully automated way, leading the way for the conversion for many other national industries to which it has supplied the new machinery.

According to what has been said in these hours by Li Zhiqiang, president of Avic Mti, in fact, a first batch of the new machinery has already been delivered to other Chinese factories, and by the end of this month 24 ones have been put into operation, capable of producing about 3 million masks per day to cover national needs, and even more. "Masks are among the most urgent major elements in contagion prevention. We have done our best and used all available resources to support the national fight against the epidemic", stressed Zhiqiang, who is also the main coordinator of this project, and who admitted his incompetence in the sector, a completely new field for this expert who has spent more than three decades in aeronautical titanium alloys. Avic, the parent company, quickly coordinated the support teams, and in just 16 days, Avic Mti together with seven other member companies of the parent company, carried out the entire machine development process by applying "all the skills in terms of aerospace technology: design, production, assembly, debugging and test production".

"When the first mask rolled out of the machine, we were extremely excited, just like watching the first flight of an airplane", said the president, who concluded: "Where there is a need for our Nation, we will commit to contribute. It is time for the aeronautics industry, with its expertise, to repay the decades of benefits received by the country".

Beyond the goodism that transpires from Zhiqiang's words, is this a commercial operation that spans the demands of the market? Of course, and welcome, if it serves to raise even the slightest part of the fate of an economy grounded by the epidemic. Why not? If it serves to give the world what it needs most right now? And they are certainly not planes or helicopters or space shuttles. Since, among other things, air transport is also in a difficult period. But masks, and lung fans, waiting for a vaccine to be found.

Gradually, the great Chinese industry is reconverting, starting from Avic, an industrial conglomarket active in the aviation and defense sector, as is Leonardo in Italy. Even in the West Bank following the "Chinese model", shoe and clothing factories are transforming to produce protective suits and masks. And in Italy? Second for deaths after China; first outbreak in Europe: Leonardo, what is it makeing?

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency