Briggs & Stratton Corporation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is proud to be a part of a MaskForce consortium that has designed, developed and produced a reusable face mask with disposable filters to protect healthcare professionals who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MaskForce face mask, which is temporarily authorized by the Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use authorization for use by healthcare professionals to help prevent the spread of infection or illness during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be sanitized and reused, unlike most face masks which are designed to be discarded after a single use. Its filters, however, are intended to be disposed of after every eight hours of wear, further extending the life of the mask.
Because of its expertise in air filtration for its engines, Briggs & Stratton Corporation led the consortium's efforts to identify and source candidate filter materials found outside of the traditional medical supply chain given the extreme shortages. A team of Briggs & Stratton employees conducted more than 250 flow resistance and filtration efficiency tests on Briggs & Stratton equipment to evaluate materials that will provide the breathability, quality of filtration and protection needed by medical professionals and first responders when caring for COVID-19 patients. The team presented its recommendations to the consortium, which ultimately selected a medical grade material for its final MaskForce design.
“Creating innovative products that make work easier and improve lives is the mission we live by at Briggs & Stratton; so naturally, when presented with the opportunity to use our expertise in a way that can protect the lives of front line workers, our employees met the challenge head-on,” says Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation. "We are honored to be a part of the MaskForce consortium, and my thanks goes out to Husco for leading the effort as well as to each and every organization that played a role in bringing this to life.”
The mask is priced close to cost, with any profits in 2020 reinvested back into the community. In addition to accelerating production of the current model, a smaller form-factor mask is under development. The MaskForce face mask is temporarily authorized pursuant to an FDA emergency use authorization and is actively pursuing NIOSH N95 certification.