Martinrea International is a global leader in the design, development and production of lightweight structures and propulsion systems that address the automotive industry’s current and future solutions. In March 2020, Martinrea International (martinrea.com) made the decision to manufacture our own medical masks. This was partly in response to the Premier’s calls to manufacture more PPE, and partly to protect our own employees, numbering about 15,000 in Canada and worldwide. At that time, we were concerned with the subpar quality of masks coming from abroad, and subsequently, the questionable quality of masks being flooded into our local market. As Making Lives Better is our Vision and part of our Mission, manufacturing high-quality masks is just an extension of our true north value, guiding our commitment to both our people and our community.
What we didn’t anticipate at that time was that we would be really good at manufacturing medical masks using the same processes we have used in our own industry for years: 1.) Above and beyond adherence to Health & Safety measures 2.) Strict compliance to Quality Assurance, and 3.) Lean production principles. Some of the results of our high capacity production capability is that we can produce them more efficiently than other manufacturers, process large quantities quickly, have quick turnarounds, and make more masks than we can use. Since June, we have been donating our excess medical masks to nearby non-profits such as the Vaughan Food Bank, Stonegate Community Health Centre, Burlington Food Bank, Agincourt Community Services Associations, various places of worship, and many more.
Our ASTM Level 3 masks are made in a clean room:
- Lab-certified microbial cleanliness, MRE mask total bioburden is <5 Colony Forming Unit/gram (DIN EN 14683 > 30 CFU/g)
- 10 Hospital HEPA booster units with 20 exchanges per hour and 0.5 µ particle count of 150 K per 100 L
- Virus Killers using UVC 24 hours a day elimination of live bio-material
- Separated HVAC system with positive pressure of 25-50 mmHg
- All staff adhere to donning and doffing procedures
- Regular ATP testing
Like other manufacturers, we use a nose wire and ear loop; but unlike others, we use spunbond polypropylene on both the inside-facing and outside-facing part of the mask. Using the regular blue spunbond polypropylene would have been cheaper, but we would not have scored a remarkable 3.40 H2Ocm2 average on the differential pressure tests. This, in addition to our use of high-quality, North American-sourced, nonwoven meltblown as the inside layer, makes for an exceptionally breathable mask that does not sacrifice filtration levels, as you can see from above. An exceptionally breathable mask means people will leave it on longer, even while exercising. Lastly, as we do not permit the use of graphene, disinfectants, and preservatives, our process is entirely chemical-free, while our masks are odourless.
In October, 2020, we acquired a Health Canada Covid-19 Medical Device Authorization for Importation or Sale, permitting us to import and sell our face masks (Authorization Reference Number/Application Number: 320735. Manufacturer ID 161696). After calculating our projections for sales, we have come up with some surprising figures. We don’t plan to make an unreasonable profit from our masks. We do, however, need to cover the costs while continuing our commitment to providing to non-profit organizations for free.