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Mack Molding and Southwestern Vermont Health Care partner to develop PPE alternative

Apr 22 2020, 1:15 PM

Mack Molding and Southwestern Vermont Health Care have partnered to develop an innovative alternative for personal protective equipment for health care workers. 

Mack Molding mask
Karena Webber, PA-C, using the mask in SVMC ExpressCare. Provided photo

The design team at Synectic, a Mack Molding subsidiary, is re-engineering a snorkeling mask into a piece of equipment appropriate for medical use. So far, Synectic has delivered 500 scuba masks and 2,000 N100 HEPA filter casings to the hospital.

The reengineered mask covers the entire face and replaces the need for disposable masks and shields. Engineers removed the part that usually protrudes out of the water when snorkeling and replaced it with a new, custom-designed branched component equipped with cartridges containing P100 HEPA filters.

Each Southwestern Vermont Health Care staff member is “fit tested” to ensure an adequate seal and assigned a mask, according to a statement released by the hospital.

Unlike medically approved respirators, the scuba mask has been adapted to meet the filtration requirements of personal protective equipment. The risk assessment conducted by Mack’s design and Southwestern Vermont Health Care showed that the mask fully seals around the face with silicone, reducing skin breakdown, and the N100 HEPA filters have a higher rate of filtration than the material in the traditional N95 masks.  

— Sarah Asch