Iconic Worldwide optimistic on sustainable demand for personal protective equipment

Updated Jan 16, 2022 6.00pm

BATU KAWAN: Iconic Worldwide Bhd is bullish on the outlook for the glove and face mask manufacturing industry, as demonstrated by the launch of its RM200 million factory to produce the personal protective equipment (PPE) here at the weekend.

Six double former glove dipping lines have started running at the factory, and by March, a total of 12 double former glove dipping lines and 20 medical face mask production lines will be installed and commissioned. The factory, which is built on a 5.5-acre site, is expected to yield a minimum production capacity of 3.3 billion pieces of gloves and 220 million pieces of disposable face masks per annum.

$!Iconic Worldwide managing director Datuk Tan Kean Tet (left) giving Chow a tour of the factory. MASRY CHE ANI/THESUN

The factory is designed to be Industry 4.0 ready, whereby 80% of its manufacturing processes are automated. It is expected to have 700 workers when full production commences by March, from 500 currently.

The emergence of Covid-19 variants such as Omicron, despite the extensive vaccinations globally, is expected to sustain the demand for gloves and face masks.

Iconic Worldwide executive director James Tan said demand will also be sustainable post-pandemic as worldwide markets and leaders around the world are aware of the importance of PPE to prevent another pandemic.

“The global glove and face mask business is a multi-billion-dollar industry and will continue to grow. With the continued surge in demand for quality medical-grade products, we see a huge opportunity for us to explore.

“While Iconic Worldwide is relatively new in the PPE manufacturing market, our international recognition – including by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – and the overwhelming enquiries from potential customers make us one of the leading beneficiaries of this continued demand for PPE,“ Tan said at the factory opening on Saturday.

Last month, Iconic Worldwide secured a 510 (k) premarket notification approval from the US FDA to distribute its medical-grade gloves throughout the United States. The group has also obtained International Organization for Standardization and European Union’s CE certifications for its nitrile gloves and medical face masks, all of which will enable the group to export its products worldwide.

With the group already locking in mass orders for its gloves and face masks, predominantly from the US, Europe, Africa and Asia, the factory’s opening puts Iconic Worldwide on the right track to become a major player in the global market within five years.

“Moving forward, we will continue to expand our capacity as we aim to capture more market share from the global demand for PPE, targeting export markets such as the US, Europe, Africa and Middle East.

“We are in the glove and face mask business for the long term. We are already working on widening our product range,“ Tan said.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who officiated at the launch of the factory, said the state is seeing a continuous inflow of investment from medical device companies, including players in disposable and electronics-based products. Penang has more than 50 medical device companies present in the state. Penang has built a strong base in electrical & electronics manufacturing, which acts as a springboard for diversification into other industries.

$!Iconic Worldwide managing director Datuk Tan Kean Tet (left) and Chow at the opening ceremony of the factory. MASRY CHE ANI/THESUN

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