French software developer Caldera has announced a new initiative that will help furnish the increasing demand for face masks for private individuals, while at the same time supporting their printing clients during a difficult time for businesses. Based on their successful SportsFactory concept which launched at FESPA Berlin 2018, the MaskFactory micro-factory platform will allow consumers to design personalised masks, which will then be manufactured to French AFNOR norms and dispatched to them.
Staff at Caldera came up with the idea when they realised that there were two problems facing them as parents trying to provide masks for their family to wear. Firstly, there’s a shortage in the supply of certified barrier masks which makes them difficult to source and, secondly, most of the available masks were not reassuring or appealing to children.
Caldera’s VP Marketing, Operations and IT Sébastien Hanssens explains: “As parents, we were finding it difficult to get masks that children and families would feel happy and comfortable to wear. The thinking behind MaskFactory is that by making face protection that can be fun and colourful, we can bring a bit of levity into the current serious situation.” Customers will be able to design their own certified barrier masks, choosing from thousands of online images and patterns, and will be able to customize colors and add their names.
“At the same time,” continues Sébastien, “it gives us the chance to support our printing clients during these uncertain times. MaskFactory will help to connect suppliers with customers and offer a solution that both of them are looking for.”
The MaskFactory platform is based on the scalable and robust micro-factory solution. It will enable printers to make up for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis by giving them a new opportunity. Caldera will give its MaskFactory partners access to the digital business platform, so they can offer new printed safety products to the wider community. “It’s a win-win situation,” says Sébastien. “Our clients are able to continue develop their business through this difficult time, while families and individuals will be able to source secure barrier masks that they will be happy to wear.” Caldera is working with partners across Europe and in the USA to start offering the MaskFactory service as quickly as possible.
In order to provide support to local printers in each region, the Mask Factory platform is designed to route orders to producers located close to the customer. Apart from helping local economies, this feature helps reduce carbon emissions in transporting masks over longer distances
The three-layer masks will comply with French AFNOR SPEC S76-001:2020 and will be produced with sublimation printing on the exterior with eco-solvent inks certified ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX. They will be made of 100% woven polyester lining, with an internal lining of non-woven polypropylene, and all materials will be manufactured in France or Europe.