ExxonMobil has teamed up with the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) on an effort to design and manufacture reusable personal protection equipment (PPE) such as face shields and N95 masks, which are critically needed by healthcare workers challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Expediting advanced technologies to help those who are combatting this global pandemic is absolutely critical for society,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “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.”
The company is using its experience with polymer-based technologies to help develop and expedite third-party production of PPE that can be sterilized and worn multiple times. Prototypes are currently pending approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Once approved, ExxonMobil will help identify manufacturers familiar with the materials and process to quickly deliver the masks and will likely be able to produce as many as 40,000 ready-to-use masks and filter cartridges per hour.
Prior to this multi-sector effort, ExxonMobil had increased production of raw materials for medical masks, gowns and hand sanitizer. The company boosted production of specialized polypropylene, which will enable production of up to 200 million masks or 20 million gowns per month. They have also increased their monthly production of isopropyl alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitizer, which is enough to enable production of up to 50 million 4-ounce bottles of medical-grade hand sanitizer.
“Our team has been working around the clock, applying our engineering and technical know-how and working with our customers to make this happen,” McKee said. “We’re committed to doing our part to support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”