PIA Automation is an international group of companies and offers technically complex and economically efficient solutions in automation.
PIA inhouse resources provide a perfect interaction of mechanics, electronics, programming, measurement technology, documentation, image processing, robotics, research and development, everything from a single source. Services range from manual assembly workstations to fully automated production lines. PIA takes into account the trends in the digitalization and interlinking of the manufacturing processes with its own IoT solutions. PIA's competence center for medical technology is located in Amberg, where numerous healthcare products have already been automated successfully.


Sandler Group is one of the world’s largest nonwovens manufacturers. At its headquarters in Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany, the family-run company develops and manufactures nonwovens for a wide range of applications in construction/engineering, filtration, home textiles, hygiene, transportation and wipes.

Since 2016, the U.S. subsidiary Sandler Nonwoven Corporation in Perry, Georgia, manufactures Sandler Nonwovens "made in USA".

Sandler brings over 20 years of experience and technological know-how in manufacturing synthetic air filtration media to the


The Zettl Group has stood for excellent solutions in the automotive and interior sectors over the past 30 years. Leading global companies from the automotive industry trust in the expertise made in Bavaria.

Zettl Automotive is specialized in technical services in the field of quality management for various product areas and processes along the entire value chain.

Zettl Interieur is the leading partner for the  development and engineering of high-quality components in the leather sector. We also produce vehicle prototypes, small series and exclusive individual parts.


DEKRA has been working for safety for more than 90 years: The Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein e.V., founded in Berlin in 1925, has become one of the world's leading expert organizations. DEKRA SE is a wholly owned subsidiary of DEKRA e.V. and manages the Group's operating business. In 2019, DEKRA generated sales of 3.4 billion euros. Almost 44,000 employees are on duty in around 60 countries on all five continents. With qualified and independent expert services, they work for safety on the road, at work and at home. The portfolio ranges from vehicle inspections and appraisals to claims settlement, industrial and construction inspection, safety consulting, and the testing and certification of products and systems, as well as training services and temporary employment. The vision up to its 100th birthday in 2025 is: DEKRA will be the global partner for a safe world.

DEKRA Testing and Certification GmbH, headquartered in Stuttgart with additional laboratory locations in Bochum, Dresden and Essen, is a subsidiary of the globally active DEKRA SE. Our international expertise has made us one of the leading providers in the industry for the testing and certification of technical products for industrial and consumer products. Our services focus on the safety of electrical and mechanical devices and machines and their components, as well as on plant safety, machine safety and personal protective equipment with an emphasis on explosion protection.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

The Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) is one of the most research-intensive universities in Europe. With its differentiated range of subjects, it has outstanding potential for innovative basic research. It has an outstanding research record, has been ranked the best university in Germany in excellence initiatives, and has attracted the highest total funding amounts.

It is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and maintains strategic research collaborations with top international universities - such as Harvard Medical School, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Tokyo. The clinics and institutes of the University of Munich Hospital are centers of excellence in medical clinical research.

Today, LMU is the only university in Germany to host all six German Centers for Health Research. It maintains an extensive network of universities, research institutions and companies. Excellent research collaborations also exist with medical disciplines of the German Armed Forces.

Institut für Mikrobiologie der Bundeswehr

The Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces (IMB) is a federal departmental research institution for medical B-protection with the mission to protect soldiers against diseases caused by biological warfare agents and dangerous pathogens. To this end, it conducts studies, developments and tests in the field of B-protection and provides special diagnostics for the associated dangerous infectious agents and toxins as a science-based service.

Within the framework of the Bavarian Mask Association, the Institute provides its expertise in the field of research and development. The various particle-filtering half masks (FFP masks) have so far only been tested with paraffin-oil-based test aerosols. These test aerosols are intended to simulate airborne infectious agents. In this simplified system, however, many questions remain unanswered, including the survivability of the pathogens. In collaboration with the LMU, the Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces is working on a new, virological test method for FFP2 masks using SARS-CoV-2 as an example.

Technische Universität München

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of the first three universities of excellence in Germany. Top performance in research and teaching, interdisciplinarity and talent promotion distinguish it.

Within the Masken-Verbund-Bayern, the competences of the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene and the Professorship Circular Economy are bundled.

Expertise from the field of clinical microbiology is thus synergistically combined with approaches from circular economy and bioeconomy systems.




"Automation is the cornerstone for cost-effective production of protective masks in Germany. PIA provides this important contribution with its innovative and reliable production line technology and is thus the supporting pillar in the mask network".

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Gregor Weigl (Head of Medical Project Management and Qualification).

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„We are grateful to be a member of the Mask-Alliance-Bavaria and to be able to help to secure the supply reliability for masks. Our gratitude goes out to the committed Sandler team as well as to our cooperation partners and our state politicians. With their outstanding effort and flexibility they make our contribution to overcome the Corona crisis possible.“


„The alliance enables us to further develop the mask concept together in Bavaria in the upcoming years and to come up with shortterm solutions for current demand. Our goal is to reposition the domestic production in the marketplace.“


„The Corona crisis has shown that for certain protective goods we need a domestic production for crisis prevention. Bavarian companies like PIA, Zettl and Sandler have reacted flexibly in this difficult situation and managed to establish a new supply chain with innovative technology in record time that could be exportable with masks 'made in Bavaria' in the future".

FFP2 Maskenproduktion mit Kopfbänder


What was the motivation to establish the alliance?

The motivation is to bring together the existing expertise, from all over Bavaria, of nonwoven production, automation and mask production. Even before the Corona pandemic, all companies in the alliance - each in their own sector - were involved in the production of materials for and the manufacture of face masks, in one way or another. And each individual company recognized the need to expand their activities with regard to these products at the beginning of the year and thus make a contribution to the well-being of the people in our country. This commitment and the corresponding network initiatives by politics brought PIA Automation, Sandler und Zettl together. The common desire to establish complete supply chains for face masks in the country and thus ensure supply security even beyond the Corona pandemic ultimately resulted in the establishment of the alliance.

How did the alliance come about?

The commitment of our political representatives played a major role in the founding of the Mask Alliance. Their initiative promoted rapid market development from various sectors of the economy and the networking of the participating companies. This networking brought our companies together and thus laid the foundation for the Mask Alliance Bavaria. They all deserve our gratitude.

How firm or loose is the association?

The alliance serves the exchange of experience and expertise. The three partners are fully committed to the Mask Alliance and the goal of establishing a cooperation that will help to overcome this crisis. We are starting a trustful cooperation while maintaining entrepreneurial freedom.

Should the alliance become permanent?

Face masks are always needed as medical devices and it will remain important in the future to maintain complete supply chains for these products in the country. Our cooperation in the Mask Alliance Bavaria will enable us to quickly produce face masks in the current situation. At the same time, however, it is a long-term cooperation in which we can continue to implement innovations in the future.