At the beginning of this year, Siddhi Salvi and the Cummins Filtration product team spent virtually all of their time working on new ways to refine the company’s Fleetguard fuel, lube, and air filtrationmedia for diesel engines. Their main challenges were coaxing ever-better filter efficiency, capacity, and flow restrictionto capture contaminants and extend the lives of commercialtrucks and off-highway equipment.
Then came COVID- 19.
“We had been researching various applications beyond the
engine filtration industry where our media could be utilized,”
said Salvi, the product manager for media at Cummins Filtra-
tion in Nashville. The filtration capabilities of NanoNet media
technology, the same multilayered polymeric synthetic media
used in the company’s most advanced engine filters, suggest
that the material would also be effective for N95 respirators,
the most common type of face mask for healthcare workers.
When NanoNet was tested using industry-standardmethods, it exceeded the performance requirements impliedby the N95 designation, which includes not only the maskmaterial but other aspects like fit. Companies that incorporate the media would need to seek approval from the NationalInstitute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to listtheir products for sale with NIOSH’s N95 designation.
For Salvi and the product team, the question was alwayswhether there would be sufficient demand and urgency tomove ahead with the research and development necessary tosupply NanoNet for use in N95 masks.
THE PANDEMIC PROVIDED AN ANSWER.
The need for N95 respirators has been overwhelming. InMarch, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesestimated that healthcare workers alone will require 3. 5 billion N95 masks during the outbreak. The agency has ordered600 million N95 masks from five companies to distributeto hospitals and replenish the national stockpile.
By Stephen Petit
Cummins Filtration applies its high-performance engine filter media to N95 respirators.
The U.S. estimates that healthcare workers alone will need
3. 5 billion N95 masks during the coronavirus outbreak.
Photo Credit: 3M