community mask

The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for continued innovation to efficiently mitigate the spread of the virus.

Centexbel, HoGENT and VITO are translating the lessons learned into actions to help the industry solve the identified pain points from the first wave in the best possible way.

Challenges for the textile and clothing industry

During the first COVID-19 peak, (textile) companies turned their production upside down to mitigate the shortage of masks for healthcare and society. It became clear that the required machinery (for the production of nonwovens and the assembly of face masks) is not available in Flanders and that the product knowledge was insufficient.

Companies used their production apparatus and available materials to provide protective equipment. However, not all products met the safety and comfort requirements. 

Moreover, a large number of companies had to drastically reduce or even stop their activities, partly because of sick employees, partly because they could not work safely. Even if social-distancing precautions could be taken, employees were concerned about being infected by colleagues, customers, professional relations. The lack of protective equipment contributed to this.

In view of the exit after the first wave, massive efforts were made by (textile) companies and private individuals to produce community masks, which logically focused on safety.

However, for the people in the field, wearing a face mask was not always comfortable due to insufficient breathability, lack of heat and moisture dispersion (fogging glasses), a poor fit, because the mask is either too big or too small (adult vs. child as well as anthropometric differences).

Poor fit compromises safety because the wearer tends to frequently touch mask and face, creating a significant  contamination risk.

Solutions of COVVID-PBM


The 3 project partners - Centexbel-VKC, HoGent and VITO - each contribute their expertise in:

  1. materials and processes
  2. comfort & fit
  3. legislation
  4. test protocols and standards


The aim of this project is to disseminate information about which materials and processes can be used to make safe, comfortable and well-fitting face masks. This will result in better fitting face masks that give a safer feeling. In combination with a pleasant wearing comfort, employees will be able to work with face masks throughout their shift and citizens will be able to enter busy environments with peace of mind.

The applicable legislation and the required quality and guidelines for maintenance will be clearly displayed.

This project will ensure that Flanders can provide its own protective equipment (respiratory, medical, community and artisanal masks) so that citizens and workers can move around safely and comfortably in society and at work.

This will have an economic impact on the various target groups: textile and clothing companies, employees and staff in shops and catering establishments.

Reports & Results

After filling in your coordinates and selecting the document(s) you would like to consult, you will be directed to a webpage where you can download the desired file(s).

Please consult our privacy policy rules

Research documents

Informative documents

Select from the list below:

Older research documents

Seminar 29/06/2021

The presentations are available online. Select from the list below:


Webinar 23-09-2021

Informative documents

Select from the list below:


Kick-off webinar documents

Webinar 17/12/2020

Introduction of the COVVID-PBM project: What is the difference between the various face mask types? How are they tested? What about comfort and fit? Which materials are used?


Project managers

Ine De Vilder

Researcher Textile Functionalisation & Surface Modification
+32 486 294 467
+32 9 241 86 86

Myriam Vanneste

R&D manager Textile Functionalisation & Surface Modification
+32 473 711 603
+32 9 243 82 31

Contact Ine & Myriam

Please fill out this form to receive more information about the possibilities to join the project. If you would like us to contact you, please indicate your preference.

I would like to discuss this project over

Project financing

nieuw Vlaio logo

Collective Research & Development and Collective Knowledge Transfer (COOCK), financed byVlaio

Project HBC.2020.2741

1 October 2020 – 30 September 2021