In March and April 2020, mask manufacturers were struggling for materials to meet the soaring demand for masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We discovered that our processes used to make StrataPore, NanoNet® and NanoForce® media, which are typically used in diesel engine filtration products, could also be applied to make material for surgical masks and N95 respirator masks worn by healthcare professionals. In fact, in industry-standard tests, masks using our media exceeded the performance requirements for N95 designation.
To help address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), we partnered on a variety of initiatives with DuPont, University of Minnesota, 3M, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Dr. Peter Tsai, an original inventor of the material production process used for N95 mask materials. The result was the production of significant quantities of materials and filter elements used by healthcare professionals and others.
Within weeks, our partnerships were in place and we began production. In fact, it took one month to go from concept to production at three sites: Suwon, South Korea, Cookeville, Tennessee and Neillsville, Wisconsin.
In total during 2020 and 2021, we used our filter technology to produce 146 metric tons of melt-blown filtration media for mask manufacturers primarily in the US, but also around the globe – enough to make more than 100 million masks. In addition, we produced 566,000 filters for powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) masks.
Atmus employees are proud to have taken part in this project that has benefitted so many communities worldwide.