Among Malaysia’s rubber glove makers is a surprising new entrant: tourism and property giant Iconic Worldwide. Better known for mixed development projects such as Icon City in the northern state of Penang, the company began PPE production through subsidiary Iconic Medicare as recently as October 2021.
Iconic has a distinct advantage: a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility capable of producing 3.3 billion pieces of glove per annum, amounting to approximately 1 per cent of global market demand, in addition to face masks.
The 5.5 acre factory launched in mid-January 2022 in Batu Kawan, Malaysia, with six double former glove dipping lines in operation. By March 2022, 12 double former glove dipping lines will be installed, alongside 20 medical face mask production lines.
“We are using all the latest technologies and automations. It’s a really modern factory," explained Danny Ong, Director – Sales & Marketing. Eighty per cent of the factory's manufacturing processes are automated.
“We tried to optimise a lot – even our packing system – so that in the long term we are able to bring down the cost to be able to supply the market,” Ong continued.
Stretching into the future
Iconic Medicare’s chief focus is quality. The glove maker currently manufactures examination gloves with an Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of 0.65, offering the wearer a greater barrier of protection. They offer high levels of flexibility and comfort. “When the nitrile glove was introduced, it was very hard. Now you can see the stretchiness, and they are also soft and nice to wear,” Ong said.
Sustainability is also a major priority. “We are thinking about ESG and compliance,” said Executive Director James Tan. “We are actually in the process of upgrading our machines to a SCADA [Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition] system, to control wastage of rubber materials. This will be sustainable for the long term.”
Arab Health 2022 interest proves strong
Looking into the near future, Iconic Medicare will be expanding beyond its single factory, Tan said, and focus more on R&D. “We plan to go into speciality gloves. We have good teams that can do it,” Ong added.
Iconic will be seeking to grow its customer base, too. With the company looking to engage a distributor to handle and promote their brand overseas, the high interest shown over the four days of Arab Health 2022 in Dubai was well received. “I was surprised,” Ong said, commenting on approaches by individuals from the UAE, Africa, Saudi Arabia and the UK. “I have been here many times, but this is the best one.”