Weird News Meudon: a Boulonnais set up a mask factory in two months
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The machine started on May 8, "Liberation Day". A symbol in the eyes of Emmanuel Nizard, 41, director of a strategy consulting firm. "This is a key date for us, because there is no reason that France should not be independent on the production of masks".
Faced with the shortage, this Boulonnais entrepreneur, who contracted the coronavirus quite early, first tried to buy it in China. "It was the Wild West". He then remembers a formula that his mother has always told him: "those who succeeded during the Gold Rush, it was not those who went to get the gold, it was those who sold shovels".
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Instead of importing masks, Emmanuel Nizard orders the machine used to make them. "France must change its thinking system: stop fighting to buy masks and reindustrialize locally!" Today, these are the masks, and if tomorrow it is the drugs, how will we do it? These industrial deserts have to be filled ”.
Part of his team is detached "in commando mode" to the project. In two months, they managed to find a local in Meudon, French suppliers for fabrics, nasal reinforcement and elastics. And a machine arriving from China on May 4. Why not a French machine? He thought about it but "the prices were prohibitive" - five times more expensive - "and the delivery time of eight months".
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"I ordered a factory on WhatsApp"
Emmanuel Nizard, however, ensures to replace the most sensitive parts with European models, of better quality. “We need both: the speed of the Chinese and the reliability of European standards. It's complementary, ”says the entrepreneur, impressed by the pragmatism of the Chinese.
“I ordered a factory on WhatsApp, laughs the founder of the French Mask , the brand given to its production. This will be the title of my future book! Everything was done on WhatsApp, there was no contract. The delivery was very fast, it was an incredible collaboration.
Four days later, the machine starts making 50,000 surgical masks a day. In two to three weeks, it will ramp up to produce 200,000 per day. "Made in France", which costs no more than Chinese products.
The success was immediate: their first client, the GPSO territory (Grand Paris Seine Ouest) *, ordered 500,000 masks. “We wanted to go after the spirit of local production, by settling in the Hauts-de-Seine, explains Emmanuel Nizard. I know the local economic fabric. It played and we are proud of it. »
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Producing 100% French, a“ Far West ”
Since then, Le Masque Français has been carrying out supply contracts for cities and territories in the Paris region. Some customers start calling from further afield: Center - Loire Valley, Haute-Savoie. "It's like the coronavirus, we have clusters of interested people!"
He would have liked to play the “French production” card thoroughly. But then again, it's "the Wild West". The meltblown, this essential filter material that makes up the intermediate fabric, is made in France from plastic granules… Chinese. Another "aberration", according to the entrepreneur: "only a handful of laboratories in Europe are capable of issuing very demanding standards. There is none in France. We have to send our samples to Austria! »
This Wednesday morning, we deliver a second machine. Emmanuel breathes a sigh of relief. “We have been waiting for it since last Thursday. You live a crazy thing live! The contractor ordered a third machine, designed to make FFP2 masks. Ultimately, the objective is to be able to produce type IIR masks, those used by doctors.
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Fifteen people, taking turns night and day, ensure the proper functioning of the machine, check the masks, prepare the boxes. All in CDD for the moment. If the plant becomes permanent, some will be established. "We have to get into this mask culture as in Asia," says Emmanuel Nizard. The coronavirus simply got us started. » * GPSO brings together the cities of Boulogne-Billancourt, Chaville, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Marnes-la-Coquette, Meudon, Sèvres, Vanves and Ville-d'Avray.
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