Lydall, a leading US manufacturer of value-added engineered materials and specialty filtration solutions that create a cleaner, safer and quieter world, has been awarded a $13.5 million contract by the US Department of Defence (DOD). The contract will support Lydall’s investment in two new meltblown production lines in its Rochester, New Hampshire facility.

One of the production lines had been announced on June 2.

This investment will significantly accelerate Lydall’s domestic production of meltblown filtration media that comprises the critical filtration layer of N95 respirators and surgical masks. By May 2021, Lydall will increase its capacity of meltblown filtration media to support the monthly domestic production of 140 million N95 respirators or 540 million surgical masks, and of high-performing air filtration media to improve air quality in indoor spaces.

“Face masks are the ‘armour’ that protects Americans from contracting COVID-19. As with the equipment the US military provides our soldiers, our face masks, and the filtration media inside, must be highly engineered, backed by science and adhere to the rigorous standards of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the CDC,” said Sara A Greenstein, president and CEO of Lydall. “We are incredibly thankful to the US government for recognising the importance of accelerating domestic production of N95 and surgical face masks and providing the grant we need to do just that. We also want to congratulate the state of New Hampshire and the city of Rochester on this investment and are grateful for their collaboration and partnership. Together, we are supporting domestic supply chains, creating American jobs and contributing to the fight against COVID-19.”

With the installation of these two new production lines, Lydall’s New Hampshire facility will be the largest site for meltblown filtration media production in the United States and a centre of excellence for advanced filtration media innovation. To support the wider need for improved air quality beyond COVID-19, Lydall’s innovation team is focused on developing new carbon-based, high-efficiency media for MERV-, HEPA- and ULPA-grade filters for hospitals, airplanes, restaurants, office buildings and other public spaces. Lydall expects to generate new jobs to support the increase in production.

“As a market leader in specialty filtration solutions for nearly 100 years, we are proud to bring the full extent of our deep manufacturing expertise, assets and people to bear in the production of personal protective equipment for our first responders, medical professionals, military personnel and the general public,” Greenstein added. “We have done everything within our capacity to ramp up our production of filtration media for N95 respirators and surgical face masks. With the support of the US government, we will increase production even further.”

This contract award is a product of the ongoing collaboration between the Department of Defence and the Department of Health and Human Services, led by the Department’s Joint Acquisition Task Force and funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.