It started on a Saturday morning when a Wisconsin doctor knocked on his neighbors’ doors, asking for mask donations. Four weeks later, dozens of local organizations had collaborated to design a comfortable, reusable, high-performance mask. Now, the “MaskForce” is rolling out its products across the state and in neighboring regions.
Here’s how it happened: One of the doctor’s neighbors happened to be Pat Masterson, vice president of corporate manufacturing at automotive and mobile equipment manufacturer Husco. Masterson soon brought his company’s resources to solving the problem, but they knew they needed more.
- Through word of mouth, the project’s team developed into a 25-member consortium that included local education groups, industrial manufacturers and frontline medical and emergency response personnel.
- After the group hammered out some concepts, Husco led the design of a high-volume, injection-molded prototype using medical-grade materials.
How it works: The MaskForce team tested hundreds of suitable materials before settling on the best design. Features include:
- Comfort: The mask sports a soft, high-performance and low-pressure face seal that enables easy breathing.
- Re-usability: It uses sanitizable and replaceable components.
- Efficiency: It’s made with 60% less filter material than other mask designs—a big difference, as filter media are in high demand.
The numbers: Today, the MaskForce is producing around 1,000 masks per day, with the goal of ramping up daily production to 10,000 or even 100,000+ masks per day. Currently, it has completed 10,000 of its initial 30,000 production run.
Next steps: Husco is now producing the face mask under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization. It is also seeking certification from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, so the mask can be used by multiple industries.
What’s in a name? In case you were wondering, the MaskForce gets its memorable name from a youthful collaborator: Masterson’s 14-year-old daughter.
Husco and the MaskForce team have accomplished in weeks what would typically take months or years to do. It just goes to show—you might be surprised at what can happen when you knock on a neighbor’s door.