Coronavirus outbreak: Railways rush to procure PPE stitching machines

Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 07:50 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

While fabric required to stitch Personal Protection Equipment are in abundance, there aren't enough machines in the country to stitch them

PPE includes face shield and goggles, masks, gloves, gowns, etc
PPE includes face shield and goggles, masks, gloves, gowns, etc

The Indian Railways (IR) is working to source or assemble rare machines needed to stitch Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) — important protective gear for doctors on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus.

PPE mainly has six components — face shield and goggles, triple-layer medical mask, N-95 respirator mask, gloves, coverall/gowns, shoe and head covers. Union Ministry of Health has also issued instructions for the use of PPE. While fabric required for stitching PPE is in abundance, there aren't many machines in the country.

PPE includes face shield and goggles, masks, gloves, gowns, etc

A senior official said that every division/zone of the IR has been advised to procure the necessary items in sufficient quantity.

The Ministry of Railways has been in touch with the Textile Ministry and was informed that material for coverall/gown is available in India, said a top offiial. There are details of Indian sources available. However stitching these PPE requires special tape and taping machine.

Officials said the railways workshops will try to procure or assemble the stitching machines.

Railways has been in the process of getting state-of-the-art advanced equipment, PPE, masks, disinfectants and sanitisers in efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Ventilators, both invasive and non-invasive, are also being procured.

The IR is also equipping the existing Railway hospitals to meet the COVID-19 needs and modifying passenger coaches for isolation purposes if needed.

Workshops at Parel and Matunga have also pitched in. While 450 masks have been stitched and 140 liters of hand sanitiser prepared at Parel, Matunga workshop has arranged 200 scrub suits [apron] for the hospital staff and handed over to Railway Hospital, Byculla.

The IR has so far stitched 2,080 masks and prepared 235 liters of hand sanitiser.

Railway Board has issued instructions to the general managers of the production units to explore the feasibility of manufacturing items like simple hospital beds, medical trolleys for hospitals and quarantine facilities like stretchers, hospital footsteps, hospital bedside lockers, washbasins with stands, ventilators, sanitisers and water tanks.

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