Ordnance Factory Board: OFB planning to set up PPE testing facilities in Bengal, Maharashtra

KOLKATA: As part of its efforts to ramp up the fight against COVID-19, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is planning to set up two more facilities for testing personal protective equipment (PPE) — one at Ishapore near Kolkata and the other at Ambernath, on the outskirts of Mumbai — an official said here on Thursday. The two new facilities, along with five others set up earlier this month in other parts of the country, will give an impetus to indigenous manufacturing of the coveralls, he said.

The OFB, within the span of a fortnight, had conceptualised, designed and produced a machine to administer the test on PPEs and obtained accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), its spokesperson Uddipon Mukherjee said.

Subsequently, two testing units were put in place at the Small Arms Factory in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi, a neighbourhood of Chennai, on April 11.

Almost a week later, on April 17, three other facilities received accreditation from NABL for PPE testing — Ordnance Factory Muradnagar at Ghaziabad in UP, Ordnance Equipment Factory at Hazratpur in Firozabad and the Ordnance Factory, Kanpur, he said.

“Two more facilities have been planned – one at Ordnance Factory Ambernath near Mumbai and the other at Ishapore near Kolkata so as to provide a pan-India network for testing the fabric used for manufacturing of coveralls,” Mukherjee said.

Coveralls are used by healthcare workers while attending to COVID-19 patients, he said, adding the fabric has to be totally impermeable to blood and other bodily fluids in conformity with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) standards.

The fabric is subjected to a blood resistance test at predetermined pressures for specific periods of time to ascertain its impermeability.

Before the pandemic came to pass in the country, the facility to administer this test was only available with the South Indian Textile Research Association (SITRA) at Coimbatore and with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Gwalior.

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