3M Forms Partnership to Boost Respirator Filter Output

April 14, 2020

4 Min Read
3M Forms Partnership to Boost Respirator Filter Output
3M is partnering with Cummins to increase its output of PAPR filters. Image courtesy of 3M

Industrial products manufacturer 3M announced the formation of a new partnership with engines, filtration, and power generation products manufacturer Cummins on Tuesday that aims to expand production of filters for powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs). The company said the move is in response to an uptick in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“3M continues to work around the clock to get personal protective equipment, including PAPRs, to the heroic healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight,” the firm’s chief executive officer and chairman, Mike Roman, said in a release. “Our partnership with Cummins will help us to produce more of this critical equipment in the months to come.”

PAPRs transport filtered air into a hood or head covering to offer respiratory protection in healthcare settings and other environments where harmful aerosols may be present. They are also used in situations when respiratory protection is required for an extended period of time. 

The new arrangement with Cummins could double 3M’s capacity for PAPR filters. PAPR filters will be manufactured at Cummins’ production plant in Neillsville, WI with equipment traditionally used to produce diesel engine filters. Finished products will be sent to a 3M PAPR facility in Valley, NE. 

“Cummins has been striving to find out ways to help during the COVID-19 crisis,” Cummins CEO and Chairman Tom Linebarger said in a statement. “Working with 3M, we discovered that our technologies and manufacturing expertise could be relevant as we partner in new ways to protect healthcare professionals.”

3M said in late March that it is expanding its capacity for N95 respirators to about 1.1 billion/yr, or about 100 million/mo, in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Powder & Bulk Solids reported.

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