Is making disposable and medical masks a profitable business?

Is making disposable and medical masks a profitable business?

Are making disposable and medical masks a profitable business?


The capital cost and the labor required to operate a fully automated mask machine is now reduced by more than 80%.
Making disposable and medical masks is now a profitable business due to the full automation of mask machines.

Ten years ago many countries made a mask for medical and business use.
These we generally cut and sewn by machine and by hand which was both slow and expensive.
Machines during that time cost over $1 million and were longer than a bus.

With the need for face masks during the H1N1 outbreak, mask production was mainly moved to Asia due to the lower labor cost.
Now for the majority of countries, nearly all disposable and medical masks are imported.

“With the breakthrough of the fully automated machines, it is now profitable to make masks in nearly every country in the world.”

Latest automation for Disposable and medical masks:

Up till a few years ago, the automated face mask machines were still restricted to more operator interaction even in the biggest face mask making factories.

While the machines making the blanks for the mask were nearly fully automatic the addition of the earloop sections still needed an operator.

This was generally because the mask machine can operate at much higher production rates and the earloop welding machines which are much more labor-intensive, therefore slower.

The breakthrough came with new technology in the digital sorting and conveyor system that could automatically feed more than one earloop welding machine.

Is making disposable and medical masks a profitable business? 1

Impact of full automation on making disposable and medical masks a profitable business:

With more operation interaction in making disposable and medical masks the cost increase will be increased to a level where importing masks is more desirable.

However, the latest Fully Automated mask making machine sets ensure you can produce up to 120 masks per minute with a single operator. 

This breakthrough means even at the current speed of the machines it decreased the labor requirement by at least 80%.
Now the labor cost per mask is now lower or equivalent to the material cost.

The advantages of the latest fully automated system.
  • The mask blanks are fed from the mask making machine to an automated sorting machine.
  • The digital sorting machine can control the speed of the mask making machine.
  • The sorter has separate conveyor belts going to the earloop welding machines.
  • The sorter will recognize the speed of the earloop welding machines and send the mask blank to the correct conveyor belt.
  • The earloop welding machines are fully automated and can install the ear loops on both sides of the mask.
  • If you have more than one earloop welding machine on the line it will continue to operate even if one machine is not operating.
  • Single operator for up to four machines.


How does this impact, making disposable and medical masks a profitable business?

First is the cost of the Fully automatic face mask machines:

There has been an advancement of face mask making materials and with the advancement of technology and the machining methods over the last decade, the cost of the machines has dropped more than 80%.

The advancements have also reduced the size of the machines from longer than a bus to about the size of a single car garage.

Automatic mask making machine BF608

Easy of use and less time needed to learn how to use the machines.

Since the machines are now fully automated and controlled by a digital computer-controlled system to control the necessary face mask machines it is relatively simple to learn how to set the volume.

Now it generally requires one person to learn the operation of the machine and to feed the materials onto the machine.

The machine can perform the rest of the tasks automatically, with the main tasks that can be done manually is the quality check and packing,

However, the packing can be automated if required.
The quality check is easy to learn for most people and it does not require complicated machines.

Good ROI:

The material and labor cost is about 15%-20% of the wholesale cost in normal times. With the current demand and the estimated future demand, the ROI is high compared to many businesses

Even a single mask machine and 1 ear-loop machine set, can be operated by one to two people. It can produce 35-40 masks per minute or around 2000 mask per hour. Considering the historical minimum wholesale price in most countries is about $0.20 each this equates to about $400/ hr. Even with an extra ear-loop machine, you can increase this to $800/hr with very little extra labor.

Here are some Examples:

Masks per minute
35 70 105
Masks per hour 2,100 4,200 6,300
Material cost / hr $84 $168 $252
Labor cost @ $25/hr $50 $50 $75
Total Cost price / hr $134 $218 $327
Total wholesale Sales $420 $840 $1,260
Total Gross profit / hr $286 $622 $933
  • Wholesale cost at $0.20 each.
  • Mask volume at 80% capacity.
  • Materials using medical materials 3 ply.
  • Does not include Capital cost, overheads or electricity.
  • Labor 1 person operating and others packing and QA.
  • Estimate is in USD.
All figures are for comparison only: Not guaranteed please check local conditions.

What would you need to start a Face mask business?

Face mask making machine sets:

There are three main types of machine sets.
Here are the main options, it is based mainly on masks for personal or business use rather than Hospital style surgical masks.

 The main mask machine types are:

The masks types are usually divided between.

Fully Automatic mask machine sets are preferred for high labor cost countries or regions. Although the speeds are a little slower, the entire process is automated, with just a requirement for the loading of the raw materials.

Then checking quality and packing.

Semi-Automatic mask machine sets are preferred for lower-cost countries or regions. The speeds can be higher, but the process requires operators on each ear-loop machine. Although they can check the quality as they operate the machines.

Only packing is required after the process.

 Medical and protective now uses the N95 style. This style of mask is a much more involved process hence the much higher price for the mask.

The mask machine will perform every task other than the quality heck and the packing. 

Easy to run business.

With the automation of many face mask machines, using the machines is relatively simple.

It generally requires you to teach one person to manage the operation of the machine and to feed the materials into the machine.

The machine can perform the rest of the tasks automatically, apart from the quality check and packing, which is easy to learn.

Easy to train new employees to operate the machines for packing and Quality assurance.

Area to operate the face mask machine set:

The area required will depend on the volume of masks and the type of mask you want to manufacture.

To get some idea a single mask machine and two Auto ear-loop machines take up the same space as a single car garage.

It does require a flat surface and be able to support weight between 2-6 ton depending on the machines.


Ability to market the masks:

This is much less difficult than previously but it is still a requirement as there is more competition. Over the next several months there will still be shortfalls in supply due to both restrictions from exporting countries and logistics problems for imports.

There may be an encouragement for these types of products to be produced locally. It is highly possible people will be incentivized to buy local products in future. 


Is making disposable and medical masks a profitable business?

Only you can answer the question “Is making disposable and medical masks a profitable business?

There is an opportunity, it is one that is currently not crowded in most markets.

The investment and the operation of the business depend on the person willing to try the mask business.

It can be done from a husband and wife small business with limited capital and working normal hours per week. To a business with a few employees involved in a business that will take some considerable time to return to normal operation.

If you are interested.

Information on the different Face mask machine opportunities is listed on the website.

Click below, check the information and get in touch if you are interested.