“We looked at the situation and knewwe could help,” said Salvi. “We have ahigh-performance media, global production capacity, great partners, and a lot ofcreative energy to channel into supporting this global effort to help manufacturers supply more masks. We wanted to getto work.”
Cummins Filtration is one of severalheavy-duty equipment manufacturersthat have mobilized resources to supportthe production of personal protectiveequipment (PPE) and other supplies tohelp fight against the coronavirus.
N95 respirators are the PPE most oftenused to control exposure to COVID- 19and other infectious diseases transmitted through the air. The N95 designationmeans the masks can block at least 95% ofparticles from entering the wearer’s noseand mouth. They’re designed to filter outa wide range of different contaminantsdown to 0.3 micron in size or smaller,including airborne viruses spread fromperson to person when someone coughs,sneezes, or talks.
The company has provided samples ofNanoNet to mask manufacturers acrossthe globe for testing, and it’s also supporting a unique collaboration with researchers at the University of Minnesota.
The group is developing a respiratorwith protection similar to N95-level effectiveness that can be mass produced usingmaterials that aren’t likely to be affectedby supply chain shortages. It includes students and faculty from the university’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine; Medical School; College of Design; College ofScience and Engineering; and Center forFiltration Research Consortium (CFR).
Using NanoNet media donated byCummins, the team has designed two res-pirator-mask prototypes—one modifiedanesthesia mask and one single-use mask.
In an ideal world, wearers in healthcarewould get an N95 and change it betweenevery patient. But in practice, the projectteam found, masks and other PPE may berationed or reused multiple times. TheUniversity of Minnesota’s designs aremeant to be effective, durable, comfortable, simple to produce, and provide reliefwhen stocks of N95 masks run low.
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When NanoNet was tested using industry-standard methods, it exceeded the performance requirements implied by the N95 designation, which includes notonly the mask material but other aspects like fit.