Waukesha Manufacturer Teams up with MaskForce

Photo Source: Husco.com First MaskForce face masks move down the production line in Waukesha, WI

Are masks being worn at your company? Masks are key to many manufacturers maintaining safe operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

APICS Milwaukee is proud to share about a local Milwaukee manufacturer, Husco International, which specializes in high performance hydraulic and electro-mechanical components, and their efforts in the development of a consortium called MaskForce that’s now producing a newly developed reusable face mask.

The following excerpt from the National Association of Manufacturers tells the story of how it started.

“It started on a Saturday morning when a Wisconsin doctor knocked on his neighbors’ doors, asking for mask donations. Four weeks later, dozens of local organizations had collaborated to design a comfortable, reusable, high-performance mask. Now, the “MaskForce” is rolling out its products across the state and in neighboring regions.

Here’s how it happened: One of the doctor’s neighbors happened to be Pat Masterson, vice president of corporate manufacturing at automotive and mobile equipment manufacturer Husco. Masterson soon brought his company’s resources to solving the problem, but they knew they needed more.

Through word of mouth, the project’s team developed into a 25-member consortium that included local education groups, industrial manufacturers and frontline medical and emergency response personnel. After the group hammered out some concepts, Husco led the design of a high-volume, injection-molded prototype using medical-grade materials.”

At this point, the MaskForce is producing around 1,000 masks per day at Husco’s headquarters in Waukesha, WI, with the goal of ramping up daily production to 10,000.  Currently, it has completed 10,000 of its initial 30,000 production run.

Per Husco, unlike most face masks which are designed to be discarded after a single use, the MaskForce product can be sanitized and re-used. Made of medical grade silicone and polypropylene, the final design is soft, comfortable, and provides a low pressure facial seal. The MaskForce team tested hundreds of suitable materials and collaborated with multiple university labs, medical professionals and first responders before finalizing the production design. Husco leaders shared their thoughts on the MaskForce effort.

“Among our core values is practical innovation, which drives us to consistently and creatively push the boundary of what is possible to create immediate value,” said Austin Ramirez, Chief Executive Officer of Husco, which is leading the MaskForce consortium. “MaskForce is both an example of American manufacturing ingenuity and the good that can be accomplished when multiple stakeholders collaborate to serve the community. I am grateful to all the MaskForce collaborators for their time, expertise, and goodwill.”

 “Among our core collaborators, no one blinked an eye when it came to using our collective expertise during this time of need,” said Austin Schmitt, Vice President at Husco. “From the start, we endeavored to create something better, with the necessary comfort, fit, and functionality needed, supported by a high-volume production process to get the masks into the hands of first responders as quickly as possible. MaskForce accomplished in four weeks what would typically take months or even years.”

The mask is priced close to cost, with any profits in 2020 reinvested back into the community. In addition to accelerating production of the current model, a smaller form-factor mask is under development. The MaskForce face mask is temporarily authorized pursuant to an FDA emergency use authorization and is actively pursuing NIOSH N95 certification.

For more information visit: https://www.maskforce1.com/.

Congratulations Husco International on a great example of innovation and collaboration to meet the needs of the community!

APICS Milwaukee is the premier professional association for supply chain management, helping over 180 Milwaukee area companies represented by our members, with educational and networking opportunities.  Learn more about how we do this on our website at www.apicsmilw.org.