Exxon Joins Coronavirus Reusable PPE Effort | Rigzone
Exxon Mobil Corp. reported Thursday that it has launched multiple projects with the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) to rapidly redesign and manufacture reusable personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, who are confronting a shortage of face shields and masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Expediting advanced technologies to help those who are combating this global pandemic is absolutely critical for society,” ExxonMobil Chemical Co. President Karen McKee remarked in a written statement emailed to Rigzone. “We’re proud to do our part by sharing our expertise and experience in material technologies, and energy supplies needed to support our health care workers.”
GCMI verifies, validates and accelerates the commercialization of new medical technologies, noted ExxonMobil. The supermajor stated that it is contributing its polymer know-how to joint projects to expedite third-party production of safety equipment that can be sterilized and worn multiple times.
ExxonMobil pointed out that a new industrial-style mask is being fast-tracked for production. The mask applies a design that improves coverage of a health care worker’s nose and mouth and uses a replaceable cartridge system with filtration fabric that prevents contract spread of the virus from the saturated filter, the company explained.
“In this design, the filters are disposable while the main component of the mask can withstand repeated sterilization, thus prolonging the life-cycle of the product and addressing shortages of N95 masks,” ExxonMobil explained.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already testing and reviewing prototypes, the supermajor continued. It added that production will start immediately after FDA grants approval, with manufacturers set to produce up to 40,000 ready-to-use masks and filter cartridges per hour for doctors, nurses and other health care providers.
ExxonMobil also stated that GCMI has developed a high-grade polymer face shield that can endure harsh sterilization conditions – and be reused – while meeting visibility and safety requirements. More than 50,000 units have been produced and are being distributed to hospitals in New York and Atlanta, and “in the coming days” production facilities will ramp up output to manufacture more than 170,000 face shields per hour, the company noted.
“Scaling solutions rapidly to address the global crisis requires significant investment, innovation and collaboration,” commented GCMI CEO Tiffany Wilson. “By partnering with ExxonMobil, we’re harnessing the expertise and capabilities of one of the world’s largest energy companies to accelerate our ability to realize that vision.”
ExxonMobil added that others affiliated with the PPE initiative represent Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Institute of Technology.
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