Manufacturing Reusable N95 Masks

It’s been over a year since the onset of COVID-19 and manufacturers are continuing to readjust their product and production priorities. Manufacturers have made it clear that the creation of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a priority and that they are ready to help those on the front lines stay safe. In this blog we dive into one particular manufacturer’s effort to defeat COVID-19.

Shifting Production

Husco–A Wisconsin based manufacturing company which specializes in hydraulic and electromechanical components, has shifted its production. Last spring, the company decided to shift part of its production to manufacturing N95 respirators for healthcare professionals and first responders.

Additionally, the company became part of MaskForce–a group formed by over 50 professionals in the southeastern Wisconsin area. This group of professionals included local manufacturers, first responders, healthcare organizations and more. The purpose of MaskForce is to design, develop, and produce reusable facemasks. MaskForce serves as a great example of American manufacturing ingenuity and the good that can be accomplished when stakeholders collaborate.

Purchasing a Conveyor

Before production of masks began, Husco needed a conveyor to transfer completed N95 masks to a bagger for packaging. Husco decided to work closely with Crane Production Systems and Dorner to decide which machine was best. After countless meetings, Husco purchased the Dorner 2200 Series belted conveyor. Dorner prepped and delivered the machine that very same day.

The Dorner 2200 Series involves multiple components, including: a modular-belt, gravity roller and pallet-system conveyors. It’s a versatile platform engineered for multiple applications and industries. Most of these machines are used for automated and manual assembly, packaging, and small-part transfers. The conveyor measures 10 feet in length and 6 inches in width.

Before being placed on the packaging conveyor, the finished N95 respirators are treated with a disinfectant. After disinfection and being placed on the conveyor, the masks move under an air knife to ensure they are dry and ready for packing. Masks then travel to a bagger where they are packaged and prepped for shipping.

Husco Manufactures Hope

The initial production run of face masks is underway at Huscos’s headquarters. During this initial run Husco hopes to produce 30,000 masks. The masks in production are made of medical-grade silicone and polypropylene, which can be sanitized. Before finalizing the design, numerous materials were tested and multiple university labs, medical professionals, and first responders gave thoughts on the product.

After receiving temporary authorization for use from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MaskForce formulated a plan to scale production. The group plans to increase production to more than 10,000 masker per day to help meet demand. In addition to expanding production on the current model, MaskForce is working on a secondary model that is said to be smaller and more form-fitting.

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