Astera turns attention to manufacturing face masks

Published: 7 May 2020 - 3:35 p.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira
LED lighting manufacturer Astera has energised its 10,000 m2 factory in Shenzhen, China together with its upskilled workforce to assist with the delivery of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) items, including face masks.

These are desperately needed worldwide as countries continue to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Norbert Ernst, CEO, Astera explained that they were about to temporarily scale back operations in the factory, whilst the entertainment lighting business was quiet due to the crisis, when he was approached by a contact asking if they would be willing to assist with the production / distribution of face masks.

“Naturally I jumped at the chance,” Ernst stated. “It offered a path to keeping many staff employed full-time which is great, and also helps contribute positively to the ongoing global demand for face masks which are vital to help meet the unique challenges of containing Covid-19.”

Additionally, he feels that having the factory working in this capacity will assist a rapid return to full LED lighting manufacture when conventional business starts to resume.

Two types of mask are being safely and cleanly packed at the factory – the standard disposable face masks and KN95 respirator masks.

They are first enclosed in sanitised plastic bags which are sealed, then packed into an inner carton, and finally into outer boxes which are secured and palletised ready for shipping and transporting around the world.

During normal peak times, more than 250 people are working at the Astera factory across all departments.

Currently, around 100 Astera staff (primarily from production, quality control and the warehouse) are dedicated to this project. Astera’s management team in Shenzhen are considering hiring another 100 temporary workers for the face mask project, depending on demand.

The current contract runs for three months, after which Astera has the option to continue or switch back fully to producing their award-winning range of wireless battery powered LED fixtures.

Astera has been manufacturing in China for decades.

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