FAYETTEVILLE, N.C—Mann+Hummel USA Inc., a manufacturer of vehicle filtration products, has converted two production lines at its Fayetteville factory to produce protective-grade (non-certified) face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initially, the product will be supplied to Mann+Hummel employees to protect those working in company facilities and as production ramps up, the masks will also be sold to customers.
Globally, Mann+Hummel began 2020 with zero face mask production and now anticipates that, by May 1, it will be producing more than 5 million face masks per month, the company said.
Mann+Hummel also is working on a design to provide engineered filtration media inserts that can be used in homemade mask designs to increase the effectiveness of homemade masks, featuring a thin, breathable media.
The company anticipates having the media inserts available through various e-commerce channels.
"Mann+Hummel has repeatedly demonstrated our competence in successfully transferring technology and know-how to new applications," Kurk Wilks, president and CEO of the Mann+Hummel Group, said.
"We now use our filtration competence in automotive to build up and drive the production and supply of face masks. We have several groups in different countries all over the world working on this initiative."
"Companies are mobilizing at unbelievable speeds to assist the front lines in their fight against COVID-19," Charles Vaillant, chief technology/digital officer at Mann+Hummel, said.
"It's incredible to see the levels of innovation, the speed at which it's happening, and most of all, the sincere belief that we can make a difference in this fight. If we can save even one life, it makes these efforts worthwhile, and I am immensely proud of Mann+Hummel as we embrace innovation and quickly adapt to help others."
Other products the company is working on include:
HEPA filtration and negative pressure machine—The company's Tri-Kleen product provides public health officials and hospital staff the ability to turn a COVID-19 patient's room into a negative-pressure environment, providing a tool to help field hospitals, temporary care units, nursing homes or ad-hoc locations to maintain safety for patients and frontline staff, the company said. While initially sold by Tri-Dim Filter Corp., which Mann+Hummel acquired, the technology has been rapidly scaled through Mann+Hummel's global network to prepare for mass production, which was accomplished in less than 30 days.
Respirator filtration device for hospitals—In support of a major auto maker's producing respirators to protect health care workers, Mann+Hummel will provide up to 5,000 filters per day for the project. The respirator is a collective effort from contributing companies, as it mainly uses off-the-shelf parts to construct the device, including a seat fan from a pickup truck, a battery from a power tool, and a HEPA filter supplied by Mann+Hummel, the company said. The time to market for the HEPA filter design for respirator devices from initial concept to full production was only 12 days.
Membranes technology—Microdyn-Nadir, a membrane and module division within Mann+Hummel, is continuing production at all plants to provide membrane technology considered vital to many industries, the company said, including wastewater treatment plants and food processing.