Global power company Cummins and technology-based materials, ingredients and solutions provider DuPont have partnered to help address the shortage of N95 respiratory masks during the coronavirus outbreak.

Cummins’ NanoNet® and NanoForce® Media technology, which uses DuPont’s Hybrid Membrane Technology, are usually found in air, fuel and lube filtration products use in heavy-duty engines, but can also be used in the N95 respirator masks worn by healthcare professionals.

Featured in the masks, the technology filters any harmful airborne particles that can spread the coronavirus. 

“Cummins is re-evaluating our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identity how we can support our healthcare professionals who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs,” said Amy Davis, Vice-President of Cummins Filtration.

“Our nanonet® Media can fill a key supply void and help address the mask shortage facing the US and other countries around the world.”

The first mask prototypes using Cummins’ donated media were assembled by University of Minnesota teams in March as part of an initiative to provide masks to M Health Fairview and other Minneapolis-based healthcare systems. 

“The first thing we recognised from our experts in the Centre for Filtration Research, who work directly with Cummins, is that not all filtration materials are created equal and that the Cummins material is an excellent alternative,” said Jakub Tolar, Campus Health Officer and Medical School Dean at the University of Minnesota.

“We are tremendously grateful for the generous donation from Cummins of their filtration materials toward our mask effort. Since the arrival of the filtration media, we have been able to make rapid progress, and we now believe we have several viable mask options, including both a disposable and reusable option.”

The project also aims to provide open source instructions that other healthcare systems and groups can use to create their own respirator masks.

“We are proud to make our advanced technology available to help protect more caregivers on the front lines of this global health crisis,” said HP Nanda, Global Vice-President & General Manager, DuPont Water Solutions. 

“We thank our partner Cummins for transitioning the use of its production line to help address the global shortage of N95 mask materials, and we thank the experts at the University of Minnesota for their leadership in testing and designing several mask options for the benefit of many healthcare systems.”