MANN+HUMMEL has implemented a number of initiatives to support the growing battle against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the company said.
MANN+HUMMEL, the parent company of WIX Filters, has converted two production lines at its Fayetteville, North Carolina, facility to produce daily protective-grade (non-certified) face masks with a time to market of 15 days.
Initially, the face masks will be supplied to MANN+HUMMEL employees. As production ramps up, the masks also will be sold to customers.
The ramp-up has been fast. At the beginning of 2020, MANN+HUMMEL wasn’t producing any face masks. The company now anticipates producing more than 5 million face masks per month by May 1, according to the company.
Since 2015, Ludwigsburg, Germany-based MANN+HUMMEL has acquired several companies that produce air- and water-filtration products, including Tri-Dim Filter Corp. and MICRODYN-NADIR, among others. The acquisitions gave MANN+HUMMEL expertise in HEPA filtration, cleanroom-filtration and operating-room (laminar-flow) technologies, the company noted.
“Companies are mobilizing at unbelievable speeds to assist the frontlines in their fight against COVID-19,” said Charles Vaillant, chief technology/digital officer at MANN+HUMMEL. “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.”
MANN+HUMMEL said it is working on a design to provide highly engineered filtration-media inserts that can be used in homemade mask designs. The concept will greatly increase the effectiveness of homemade masks, featuring a thin, breathable media, according to the company.
The company anticipates having the media inserts available within two weeks, available through various e-commerce channels.
“MANN+HUMMEL has repeatedly demonstrated our competence in successfully transferring technology and know-how to new applications,” said Kurk Wilks, president and CEO of the MANN+HUMMEL Group. “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.”
The company’s TRI-KLEEN product gives 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. While initially sold by Tri-Dim, 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.
Supporting Automaker Production of Respirators
In support of a major automaker producing respirators to protect front-line health care workers, MANN+HUMMEL will “urgently” 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 a life-saving device, including a seat fan from a pickup truck, a battery from a power tool and now a HEPA filter supplied by MANN+HUMMEL.
The time to market for the HEPA-filter design for respirator devices from initial concept to full production was only 12 days, according to MANN+HUMMEL.
MICRODYN-NADIR, a membrane and module specialist within MANN+HUMMEL, is continuing production at all plants as membrane technology helps keep communities running worldwide.
“Membranes are a behind-the-scenes player in our global world, but they are vital to many industries,” the company explained in a news release. “For instance, membranes ensure our wastewater plants are functioning, work to purify water and are essential to the purification and concentration of some of the food we eat and beverages we drink.”