Flambeau is manufacturing a component for 3M’s powered air purifying respirator. Flambeau and its customer, Cummins Inc., are working together to supply the filter element of the respirator kit, Flambeau reported in a news release. Cummins is manufacturing the filter, while Flambeau is making the two-part plastic housing, made up of the main housing, which also gets overmolded in the process, and a snap-on vented cover to secure the inserted filter. The respirator is designed to produce breathable air as the air passes through the Cummins/Flambeau filter assembly, and then the filtered air is delivered to the hood covering the worker’s head or face.
Engineers and toolmakers at Flambeau Technology Center produced in less than eight weeks two sets each of the three molds needed to manufacture the glass-filled polypropylene housing (GFPP), the overmold (TPE), and cover (ABS), it was reported. Thanks to a fully automated process and full monitoring control, Flambeau will ramp up manufacturing of 3M’s part order to more than 50,000 per week.
“The key to a partnership like this is the customer’s confidence in Flambeau,” said Alan Baldwin, Flambeau’s sales representative to Cummins, in the release. “They knew we have a very strong company, financially and otherwise. We were set up, and we were ready.”
The respirator filters are made at the Cummins facility in Neillsville, WI, using existing equipment typically used for producing diesel engine filters. Flambeau’s injection-molded parts and the Cummins filters are shipped to a 3M plant in Nebraska where the respirator kits are prepared for market
“We do complicated molds for Cummins,” said Jeff Lucash, Flambeau’s vice president of sales, “and through great team effort we were able to come through in a time of high, immediate demand for this life-saving product.”