N95 respirators are types of face-covering respirators that individuals use to cover their faces to protect against any kind of harmful airborne particles that if breathing reaches the human body, may be harmful to human health. N95 masks have been certified by many public health organizations that work to study medical products to ensure the safety of human beings.
N95 respirators dissolve various kinds of smaller particles, including bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, pollen spores, and dust particles, and are the source of air pollution in various areas. These respirators are easy to use and made of a soft material by their manufacturers that do not give human skin some form of pain if they are used by anybody.
Four local businesses have teamed up to start a Maryland-based manufacturer of N95 masks
A quartet of Baltimore-area companies has partnered to start their own company that will sell large and small clients Maryland-made N95 masks en masse.
The manufacturing brainchild of Mt. Royal Soaps, Quality Mask Supply, SewLab USA, and Nightmare Graphics is Maryland Medical Industries. The company already has two manufacturing lines ready to go at the 30,000-square-foot factory of Nightmare Graphics in Columbia.
Business offices will be located at the headquarters of Mt. Royal Soaps and Quality Mask Supply in Woodbury for the time being and the founders expect to bring out their first run of 50,000 respirator masks in the next two weeks.
Mt. Royal Soaps will contribute distribution platforms and financial administration as collaborators; Quality Mask Supply will bring its own sales presence as well as mask-making skills; SewLab will provide its sourcing and textile expertise based in Johnston Square, and Nightmare Graphics will handle production and management for the entire operation.
As Covid-19 was spreading, Dan Janssen, who co-founded Quality Mask Supply in March to help meet a rise in demand for face coverings, said Maryland Medical Industries will try to "fill the gap" in access to N95 respirators.
He noted that specific types of personal protective equipment (PPE) are generally short-lived nine months into the pandemic, and are still difficult to obtain in relatively small unit orders of hundreds or thousands, particularly from leading manufacturers such as 3M that produce them by million.
Matt Williams, business manager and co-founder of Mt. Royal Soaps, said that by selling them at a low price, they will try to "get our first run[of masks] in the hands of the general public."
“Our hope here is that for the next few months, we will get very high-quality masks for people in time," he said before a vaccine becomes commonly accessible.
Maryland Medical Industries aims to expand as a go-to local source of N95 masks, in the long run, serving everyone from small and non-profit companies to area hospitals and medical systems.
For Mt. Royal Soaps, which ballooned from a small boutique business to one with substantial contracts with the City of Baltimore and a quarter-million dollar agreement with the University of Maryland Medical System for hand soap and sanitizer, the strategy worked well this year.
With a special hand sanitizer manufacturing partnership between Mt. Royal Soaps, Charm City Meadworks, and Waverly Colors during the spring, its major pivot started. Since then the company has moved from its former 600-square-foot Remington home to its current 8,000-square-foot Woodberry manufacturing space and has expanded from three full-time employees (its co-founders) to 10, except part-time assistance.
Maryland Medical Industries' other collaborators had similar experiences in partnering to stay ahead in 2020. Nightmare Graphics President Robert Andelman said his company has collaborated with SewLab USA on what has proved to be a fruitful U.S. venture.
Made Safe, which produces and sells individually in cloth masks bulk. The company also sells its hand sanitizer for online sale and after the founders connected this year, started stocking Mt. Royal Soaps' sanitizer.
So the same month, he agreed to create Quality Mask Supply, specializing in organic high-quality cloth face masks, with two other local manufacturers, gown maker Jill Andrews and custom cutting board manufacturer Words with Boards. The company "skyrocketed" rapidly, Janssen said, taking in by the spring about $30,000 a day.
The partners of Maryland Medical Industries said it was a demand that encouraged them to team up to produce N95 masks, each noting that they received a number of calls asking for them.
"We said, 'Why are we not a local supplier that can fill the demand gap? ‘Recalled Williams.
Janssen said Quality Mask Supply was sufficiently successful that it "gave us the money and the connections" to procure the machinery required to produce N95 respirators.
Each business partner has brought to the table their own properties.
Andelman said, “if we hadn't all come together with the way we did, I don't think any of us could have done this individually.”
Janssen said they plan to work over the winter to produce 200,000 to 300,000 masks each month. Big supplier deals are a major priority, but their dedication to filling smaller orders was also stressed by the partners.
“There are several physicians’ offices that need them and even my dentist begged us to sell these masks to them," Andelman said these people have been overlooked. We want to be capable of satisfying those needs.