Collin Arocho
24 March

Dutch Corona Mask (DCM) is looking to rally the Netherlands’ high-tech ecosystem to produce more protective masks. As the coronavirus ravages the world, creating a global shortage on protective gear, DCM has unrolled a new program to unite people, organizations and initiatives to create a Dutch-based supply chain to enhance mask production. The collaboration started on 18 March, when at that time, Netherlands’ hospitals and medical professionals were using more than 100,000 masks a day – quickly depleting reserves.

According to its website, the initiative is a community of volunteers, primarily consisting of technical people working in the realm of Dutch high tech. The outfit stores and provides information to help connect potential contributors to the collaborative. To do this, the initiative has five areas of focus. First is analysis, which looks for ways to accelerate existing supply chains. Second is setting up new Dutch manufacturing lines for traditional masks. Third is exploring alternative designs for facemasks, which looks to start a supply chain for disposable injection-molded masks made from flexible plastic. Fourth is finding a way to clean and reuse the injection-molded masks. Finally, the fifth point of focus is on 3D printing for personal use, which is seen as a useful option in home care.

DCM is just one of the new initiatives looking to get into the fray with the spread of the coronavirus. The Netherlands’ high-tech industry is also in the process of pulling resources to do its part to combat the virus. Just this week, NTS received 100,000 face masks from a branch office in Shanghai and Sioux added another 40,000 from its Suzhou, China subsidiary. Dutch engineering society KIVI, too, is looking to weaponize the knowledge, expertise and resources of its 18,000 members in the fight. The organization started an online service platform (link in Dutch) to connect those in need of help with those who might be able to offer it.