DVIDS – News – NUWC Keyport Employees Develop Tactical Filter Mask and Show Expertise in Additive Manufacturing


KEYPORT, Wash., April 12, 2022/ Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport/ — NUWC Division Keyport has received patents for the invention of two filtered face masks and two filtered face mask respirators.

The four patents were granted for new designs of reusable tactical face masks and respirators developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Forces Korea has requested assistance in maintaining and increasing their supply of masks to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 due to industry supply chain shortages affecting departmental mission readiness. of the defense.

Highlights of the masks/respirators developed include multiple/modular configurations designed to use low-cost, user-replaceable filter media. As a reusable and cleanable product, these innovative designs could meet future needs and be quickly scaled by leveraging a digital manufacturing engineering data set and ordered using the ID number of NATO article issued by the Defense Logistics Agency.

Most reusable half facepiece respirators have approved filter cartridges that must be purchased, creating another important supply/stock item to track and stock. These new tactical face mask/respirator designs allow the user to open the filter housing and insert new filter material. The aim was to mitigate supply chain risks for warfighters, as they have limited space to carry extra filter “cartridges” compared to the much smaller, pre-cut “filter media sheets” .

The USFK Office of Naval Research Global Science Advisor communicated the shortage to ONRG TechSolutions, resources were applied to find a technology solution, and NUWC Keyport was selected for development. An agile manufacturing effort to produce a high-quality reusable filtering face mask in four sizes has been completed with additional funding provided by Naval Accelerator programs. NUWC Keyport partnered with several organizations from the Naval Research and Development Establishment and several Navy and Army personnel to test the design for comfort and fit. The design allows for tactical operations, such as shouldering a rifle.

“The need for the mask gave Keyport the opportunity to leverage its expertise and use its specialized additive manufacturing equipment to create the masks,” said Eric Seeley, Chief Innovation Officer at NUWC Division, Keyport. . “We worked with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biology Center to test the masks and work to achieve the performance of an N95. Upon successful initial testing, Keyport worked with Korean U.S. Forces with others to provide the masks as community masks under Emergency Use Authorization.

Simultaneously designed face seals and filter housings allowed these products to go through many iterations of manufacturing and testing very quickly. NUWC Keyport has worked with Veterans Administration, Army Medical Research Command, Warfare Centers, Naval Research Laboratory, and numerous industry and academic partners to perform performance/functional testing, screening material compatibility and filtration media testing on various DoD mask variants.

“This effort has highlighted how the DoD can leverage an agile manufacturing approach to meet a complex and totally unforeseen manufacturing need – driven by stringent performance and regulatory requirements – with production scale as the end goal,” said Bryce Weber, NUWC Division, Keyport Manufacturing. Technology manager. “The masks have been specifically designed, prototyped and validated for additive manufacturing and injection molding methods. Supporting a demanding application involving personnel safety and health demonstrates how the DoD’s organic industrial base can respond faster to deliver turnkey, high-quality solutions to the warfighter. Building this capability to support mission readiness is essential for future constrained supply chain environments.

Building on this successful demonstration and filtration results, NUWC Keyport received CARES Act funding to submit an injection moldable design variant to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for N95 certification, with testing scheduled for fiscal year 2022.

Editor’s note: Bryce Weber, Johannes Schonberg, and Eric Seeley contributed to this article.

About Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport
NUWC Keyport provides advanced technical capabilities for test and evaluation, in-service engineering, industrial base maintenance and support, fleet materiel readiness and obsolescence management for submarine warfare in order to extend American submarine dominance.

Date taken: 04.12.2022
Date posted: 04.12.2022 14:11
Story ID: 418330
Location: KEYPORT, WA, United States
Hometown: KEYPORT, WA, United States

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