Automated Filter Testing for Respirator Mask Manufacturing

There are several styles of protective personal equipment (PPE) masks that are all designed to filter harmful airborne particles, gas vapors and/or dust.

PPE masks generally fall into the following categories:

  • Face masks – inexpensive, loose fitting, disposable, and prevent particles from being expelled by the wearer into the environment
  • Medical/surgical face masks – loose fitting, fluid resistant, provide the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or bodily and other hazardous fluids
  • Community masks – relatively new category, offers protection from small particles with efficiencies between 20-80%, complies to ASTM F3502 standard

While these masks provide the user with some level of protection, they do not provide the high-level of protection that respirators provide.

Medical/surgical respirators and Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs):

  • Medical/surgical respirators – provide comfort, breathability, and high-level of efficiency. N95/KN95/FFP-style (95% efficiency for most penetrating particle size 0.3 micron), Evaluated, tested and approved by national or regional agencies, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) using the 42CFR Part 84 standard in the USA
  • PAPRs – higher level of protection than N95, use a blower to force air through filter cartridges or canisters and into the breathing zone

Why is it important to test respirators?

Face masks, medical/surgical respirators, and community masks are not typically tested with a 100X Automated Filter Tester, as their primary purpose is to protect the user against bacteria and fluids. However, medical/surgical respirators and PAPRs must be tested to ensure they meet stated specifications.

How are ATI’s products used?

The The 100X Automated Filter Tester is critical for performing quality control verification of medical/surgical respirators to relevant regional standards. Because these masks vary in size and shape, they are often tested in batches, where masks are removed from production for QC testing. The 100X is also used as an inline production tester of filter cartridges used in certain respirator style masks. In this application, each respirator cartridge is tested for efficiency and resistance.

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