Clermont-Ferrand, France – Michelin is part of an initiative in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to supply a new face-mask in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the tire maker announced 8 April
Since mid-March, the collaborative project coordinated by Grenoble-based collective VOC-COV has been working on the design and large-scale rollout of the reusable mask.
The OCOV mask, developed and manufactured “in record time” in the French region, is “affordable, sustainable and can be produced in large quantities,” said Michelin.
The product is described as an FMP1 or FMP2 face-mask featuring a flexible face-piece covering the nose, mouth and chin, as well as replaceable and reusable filters.
At less than 2%, the leakage rate authorised by the FM standard is five times less than that specified for the widely used FF standard, the tire maker pointed out.
“The OCOV’s flexible facepiece ensures a snug fit, thereby minimising leakage compared to FFP1 and FFP2 filters or other washable masks,” the company added.
The design is said to provide a good seal between the atmosphere and the wearer’s face – whether the skin is dry or moist and when the head moves.
The mask can be reused up to 100 times thanks to washable, interchangeable filters, while production costs are “very competitive.” Each comes with five filters, which can be reused about 20 times each.
France’s Grenoble-based Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is providing infrastructure and research/testing resources for the project.
For its part, Michelin supplied know-how to facilitate rapid production of the first prototype, working alongside CEA teams and other regional industrial partners.
This speed-of-response allowed mask production operations to begin in less than three weeks, according to Michelin’s statement.
Ouvry, a Lyon, France-based specialist in biological and chemical personal protective equipment, is manufacturing the mask, with a prototype batch of 5,000 units now underway.
The goal, said Michelin, is to produce one million masks a week by May, leading to total production of more than five million masks by the end of June – equivalent to 500 million current single-use masks.