Working together: Cummins and DuPont help address a critical shortage of N95 masks

Cummins Filtration - N95 masks filter media

Cummins and Dupont are working together to help address the current shortage of N95 masks in the United States and elsewhere around the world. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, Cummins and DuPont are helping address the nation’s shortage of N95 respirator masks. The need for the masks has skyrocketed in recent weeks due to the global pandemic, and Cummins will use its NanoNet® Media to help answer that need. 

According to Amy Davis, Vice President of Cummins Filtration, with many of the world’s leading mask manufacturers in need of the critical materials to assemble the masks and struggling to meet demand, Cummins will use pre-existing filter technology in partnership with DuPont to help fill the supply void. 

"Cummins is re-evaluating our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identify how we can support our healthcare professionals who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs," Davis said. "Our NanoNet® Media can fill a key supply void and help address the mask shortage facing the United States and other countries around the world." 

The project also aims to provide open source instructions that other healthcare systems and groups can use to create their own respirator masks.

Supplying critical materials in a time of need

Cummins’ NanoNet® and NanoForce® Media technology, which uses DuPont’s Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT), can typically be found in air, fuel and lube filtration products used in heavy-duty diesel engines to prevent long-term engine wear, but also can be used in the N95 respirator masks worn by healthcare professionals to filter harmful airborne particles that can spread COVID-19. 

The N95 designation means the respirator can block at least 95 percent of particles from entering the wearer’s nose and mouth. When Cummins’ NanoNet® Media was tested using an industry standard testing method, it exceeded the performance requirements for N95 designation. Cummins’ manufacturing facilities have since provided media samples to mask manufacturers across the globe to test its effectiveness.

Cummins Filtration - N95 masks - stock of media
Stock of Cummins Filtration NanoNet® and NanoForce® Media technology winding. 

While products featuring Cummins’ media will need to be vetted and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the company is preparing to do its part to help relieve the burden facing the healthcare industry. 

“We’re working as quickly as possible with healthcare regulators and other partners to help certify products with our materials, and prepare our manufacturing facilities to meet demand,” added Davis. 

Keeping our healthcare workers safe

The first mask prototypes using Cummins’ donated media were assembled by University of Minnesota teams in March as part of an initiative to provide masks to M Health Fairview and other Minneapolis-based healthcare systems. As the COVID-19 outbreak escalated, the University of Minnesota realized their supply of N95 masks to protect healthcare workers would potentially run out in a matter of weeks. 

To address this challenge, a team of designers, engineers, chemists, surgeons, anesthesiologist and apparel and clothing experts from the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine; Medical School; College of Design; College of Science and Engineering; and Center for Filtration Research Consortium (CFR) came together to address this projected shortage of critical personal protective equipment. 

N95 filter media infographic - Cummins
Advanced, high-performance media for N95 respirator manufacturing. 

"The first thing we recognized from our experts in the Center for Filtration Research, who work directly with Cummins, is that not all filtration materials are created equal and that the Cummins material is an excellent alternative," said Jakub Tolar, Campus Health Officer and Medical School Dean at the University of Minnesota. 

"We are tremendously grateful for the generous donation from Cummins of their filtration materials toward our mask effort. Since the arrival of the filtration media, we have been able to make rapid progress, and we now believe we have several viable mask options, including both a disposable and re-usable option. These designs show real promise in keeping our healthcare workers safe should standard medical supplies of N95 masks no longer be available,” continued Tolar.

While DuPont’s innovative and unique Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT) is typically integrated with Cummins’ synthetic fibers to protect sensitive engine components, it has multiple other applications that can include filtration media used in N95 respirator masks. 

DuPont’s Hybrid Membrane Technology goes beyond the limits of traditional semi-porous or nonwoven membranes for air and liquid filtration. Made using a proprietary spinning process, the hybrid technology materials are comprised of continuous sub-micron fibers. The end result is a “membrane-like” sheet structure that balances breathability and high filtration efficiency of particulates. 

“We are proud to make our advanced technology available to help protect more caregivers on the front lines of this global health crisis,” said HP Nanda, Global Vice President & General Manager, DuPont Water Solutions.

“We thank our partner Cummins for transitioning the use of its production line to help address the global shortage of N95 mask materials, and we thank the experts at the University of Minnesota for their leadership in testing and designing several mask options for the benefit of many healthcare systems," Nanda added. "By working together—and innovating new applications of existing technologies and materials—we hope to slow the spread of this terrible virus."

Mask manufacturers interested in learning more about Cummins’ media technology can visit https://cumminsfiltration.com/respiratormedia.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins hosts mobile on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinics at U.S. facilities

Mobile Vaccination Clinic Entrance

When Cummins Inc. announced they were offering free COVID-19 vaccines for employees, contingent workers, and their dependents; reservations began to immediately fill up. 

Cummins began vaccinating its workforce and their dependents on April 1 in Columbus, Indiana. The company partnered with the state’s health department and local health care provider, Premise Health to ensure there was enough vaccine and medical professionals to handle the demand. 

The mobile clinics are to remove barriers to COVID-19 vaccine access to employees worldwide, by collaborating with officials globally to provide employees with access to the vaccines. The company states removing barriers looks different geographically, due to the variability in vaccine accessibility and distribution. 

“We are excited to offer a convenient opportunity for vaccinations,” said Bob Chestnut, Cummins Chief Medical Director. “The health and safety of our employees and our communities are a top priority, and we see the vaccine as a critical piece in our efforts to resume some of the ways in which we traditionally worked and lived.”

Although Cummins is hosting on-site clinics, Dr. Chestnut continues to encourage employees to not wait on the clinics to receive their vaccination. “Studies show vaccination can be extremely effective in improving the health and safety of communities, so we continue to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible in their area,” added Chestnut. 

Many employees expressed relief they were able to be vaccinated while at work. “This (on-site clinic) was great because I would have had to drive an hour away to get my vaccine,” said Devon Harden, Cummins Finance Associate.  

“The work we do, I understand the importance of being vaccinated and could not wait to get my shot,” said Nicole Wheeldon, Columbus MidRange Engine Plant Site Leader. “This (on-site clinic) could not have been more convenient, and I encourage all employees to take advantage of the on-site clinics.”

Registration for additional Cummins U.S. and global on-site clinics will be announced to employees internally, as the company works with the local governments to procure vaccinations. 

James Wide - Cummins Inc

James Wide

James Wide is a copywriter and copy editor on the External Communications team at Cummins Inc. He joined the company in 2018. 

Ethisphere names Cummins to World’s Most Ethical Companies list

Cummins was named to the World's Most Ethical Companies list for a 14th consecutive year.
Cummins was named to the World's Most Ethical Companies list for a 14th consecutive year.

Cummins has been named to the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for a 14th consecutive year, joining 134 other companies spanning 22 countries and 47 industries on the 2021 list.

The institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character and measure and improve culture.

“While addressing the tough challenges of 2020, we saw companies lead – above all other institutions – on earning the trust of stakeholders through resilience and a commitment to ethics and integrity,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich. “The World’s Most Ethical Companies honorees continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the highest values and positively impacting the communities they serve. Congratulations to everyone at Cummins for earning the World’s Most Ethical Companies designation.”

HOW THE LIST WORKS

The companies on the list participated in Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethics Quotient®, the World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment process, which included more than 200 questions on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity and initiatives to support a strong value chain. The process serves as an operating framework to capture and codify the leading practices of organizations across industries and around the globe.

This year’s question set was expanded to gauge how applicants are adapting and responding to the global health pandemic, environmental, social, and governance factors, safety, equity, and inclusion and social justice.

Cummins was one of four companies honored in the "Automotive" category. Ethics have been an important part of company culture at Cummins from its founding in 1919 to its 100th anniversary in 2019 and on to today. Cummins employees worldwide are required to comply with the company’s Code of Business Conduct, built around 10 fundamental principles.

Cummins’ Ethics and Compliance function reinforces those principles through a host of online training courses ranging from anti-bribery to conflicts of interest and fair competition.

“At Cummins, (employees) are empowered and expected to do the right thing and to ask for help when the right thing is not so clear,” Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said in the introduction to the Code of Business Conduct.

ANOTHER RECENT HONOR

The World’s Most Ethical Companies list was one of two recent honors the company received. Earlier this month, Cummins was recognized as one of America’s Best Large Employers of 2021. Forbes magazine worked with Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, on the ranking. Statista surveyed 38,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.

The respondents were asked to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others. Statista then asked respondents to nominate organizations other than their own, as well as identify organizations they would not recommend to others.

Cummins finished No. 127 overall in the rating, which was led by hospitals and universities. In its category of  “Engineering, Manufacturing,” however, the company finished fifth behind only Brunswick, Trane Technologies, Sherwin-Williams and Owens-Illinois. 
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins plays key role in producing masks to curtail spread of COVID-19

Employees make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana. It is one of three locations making masks for essential Cummins employees around the world.
Employees make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana. It is one of three locations making masks for essential Cummins employees around the world.

Cummins used its filter technology to produce 146 metric tons of filtration media for mask manufacturers around the world in 2020, enough to make more than 108 million masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

That total includes media the company produced to make masks for its own employees, an initiative starting in June 2020 when Cummins announced it would purchase the necessary equipment to begin mask manufacturing at three sites. Those sites produced about 10 million masks for use companywide in 2020 and continue in operation today.

Mask making at the Columbus Engine Plant.
The mask-making initiative at the Columbus Engine Plant in Indiana produced about 3.5 million masks in 2020 for employee use. Collectively, the company's three mask-making locations produced around 10 million masks in 2020.

“When the pandemic first started, Cummins re-evaluated our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identify how we could support healthcare professionals and essential workers who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs,” said Steph Disher, Executive Director of Cummins Filtration, which designs and manufactures filtration products for diesel and natural gas powered equipment.

“It has been an honor to use our technology and workforce to help communities around the world during these challenging times,” she said.

PARTNERING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The overwhelming majority of the filtration media produced for masks last year went toward the standard masks people are wearing at work, school, shopping and other activities outside their homes. Cummins Filtration, however, also produced media for N95 and KN95 masks.

In addition, the company partnered with 3M to produce 566,000 filters for 3M’s powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) used by health care professionals at risk of airborne pathogens. That partnership used equipment typically employed to produce diesel engine filters to manufacture the high-efficiency particulate filters used in 3M’s PAPRs.

It was one of several partnerships resulting in Cummins playing a key role in the production of equipment to help guard against the spread of COVID-19. The company worked with DuPont to address the shortage of N95 respirator masks, using Cummins’ NanoNet® filter media.

And Cummins partnered with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a process converting microfibers into a fabric capable of reducing the spread of viruses, including COVID-19.

“Cummins was an ideal partner to scale what we had accomplished and help us produce material that passed all required testing for filter media,” said Merlin Theodore, Director of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at the laboratory.

MASKS FOR EMPLOYEES

As part of the company’s efforts to enhance safety for employees working in essential positions, Cummins reconfigured its plants to allow for social distancing, increased cleaning protocols, implemented health checks upon entry to open facilities and required masks. Early in the pandemic, the company scrambled to find masks for its thousands of employees until deciding to produce its own.

Cummins started mask manufacturing at company plants in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.); San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and Phaltan, India, with each site serving a particular region. Operations started first in Columbus and soon followed at San Luis Potosi and Phaltan. 

The company’s virus prevention efforts have been overwhelmingly successful, with the vast majority of COVID-19 cases involving employees resulting from exposure outside Cummins facilities.

WHAT’S NEXT

The company’s various mask production efforts will continue as long as they make sense to meet demand, Cummins officials say. Hopefully that won’t be too much longer as vaccine distribution has started around the world.

Why is Cummins, a global power leader, so heavily involved in an activity like masks? Cummins believes a company is only as strong as the communities and the world around it. Using the company’s knowhow to help guard against the spread of COVID-19 is merely the latest example in its more than 100-year history of Cummins living its values.
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins moves up in Journal’s Management Top 250

The Management Top 250 ranking came amid a number of awards and recognition for the company in the 4th quarter of the year.
The Management Top 250 ranking came amid a number of awards and recognition for the company in the 4th quarter of the year.
Cummins jumped 24 spots in the Wall Street Journal’s most recent Management Top 250, finishing No. 64 in the 2020 ranking of publicly traded U.S. companies developed by the Drucker Institute for the newspaper.

The company finished third in the Automotive/Industrial sector behind Ford (No. 19) and General Motors (No. 46).  

The Drucker Institute is named for the late professor, author and longtime Wall Street Journal Columnist Peter Drucker. The ranking is based on five measures of corporate performance: customer satisfaction, employee engagement and development, innovation, social responsibility and financial strength. The analysis used 33 data inputs provided by 14 third party sources.

COMPANY STRENGTHS

Cummins received five out of five stars on social responsibility and four out of five stars for engagement and development and for innovation. The five areas used by the institute are weighted almost equally in the ranking.  

More than 800 companies were included in the Drucker Institute’s review. Companies had to be part of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index or the S&P Composite 1500 index. Each was assigned scores in the five key areas with a typical range of 0 to 100 and a mean of 50. The scores were then grouped into categories of stars ranging from zero to five. 

Technology firms took eight of the first 10 places in the review led by Microsoft.

OTHER HONORS

The Management Top 250 concludes a successful 4th quarter for Cummins in terms of awards and recognition. Other honors include:

  • Cummins in December was named to Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2021. The company ranked No. 24 overall, and second in the automotive and components category, in the review, produced in partnership with Statista.
  • The company in November was named for a 15th consecutive year to the S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for North America, one of the premier measures of corporate sustainability.
  • Cummins in October was one of 21 companies named a “Culture Champion” by a partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Glassdoor, one of the world’s leading recruiting websites. The company received high marks for creating cultures of integrity and respect and ranked first in the study’s category for promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.
  • Also in October, the company was named to Investor’s Business Daily’s 2020 Best ESG Companies, Environmental Social & Governance list. The company ranked No. 37 on the list, up from No. 48 the previous year.
  • Cummins was also named in October to Forbes’ 2021 Just 100 ranking of America’s Most Just Companies, done in partnership with JUST Capital. Cummins finished No. 99 in the review, which is based in part on a survey of Americans to glean what they want from good corporate citizens. 
blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

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