How the ViruDefense VDI-100 Went from Idea to 1 Million Masks and Counting
In partnership with ViruDefense, Inc., Baril Corporation is proud to provide healthcare workers with NIOSH-approved, N95 respirator masks. What was just a concept six months ago has resulted in the production of more than 1 million masks so far.
A Life-Saving Idea
As the COVID-19 pandemic began its spread across Asia, making its way to the US and Europe, Pieter Muntendam, MD, founded ViruDefense to address an imminent shortage of respirators after the shutdown of key global supply chains. Realizing that US healthcare workers would quickly be in desperate need of PPE, Dr. Muntendam turned to Baril Corporation to help develop a revolutionary mask that combined N95 respiratory protection with the fluid resistance of a surgical mask.
Baril Corporation’s agility, engineering expertise, capacity, and US-based supply chain were all key to the rapid development of the VDI-100. “When we started working on this project in early February, most believed we were unnecessarily panicking – that this was a temporary issue in China, not a devastating global problem,” said Dr. Muntendam. “The team at Baril fully engaged immediately, and we now find ourselves in a leading position for the manufacturing of an advanced N95 respirator.”
“Manufacturing this advanced N95 respirator mask using a high-capacity manufacturing process aligns well with our core capabilities. Our adaptive engineering team and by-design reserve capacity allowed us to start on this project immediately, while our US-based supply chain relationships allowed us to decrease material and equipment lead times dramatically,” said Dan Baril, CEO of Baril Corporation. “We put our 40+ years of experience to work to bring a high-quality product to the market as rapidly as possible.”
Disrupting the Manufacturing Norm
ViruDefense and Baril Corporation began their collaboration in February of 2020. By March, the mask design and prototype were finalized and quality validation began. The first delivery of material arrived in mid-April, and by July, ViruDefense, with Baril’s regulatory expertise, had received NIOSH approval – one of the first four US companies to receive this certification for N95 respirators during the COVID-19 crisis. Approval on the unique, flat-fold mask meant mass production ramped to more than 165,000 masks per week and surpassed 1 million units within a month.
“In the medical manufacturing industry, this type of timeline is almost unheard of,” said Dan Baril. “But we knew we were up for the challenge – finding unique solutions is what we do. We know healthcare can’t wait, and we’ve spent decades refining our processes and arming ourselves with the best talent in the business to deliver on the promise of helping those who help others.”
The Growth Continues
In July, with no end to the pandemic in sight and PPE still at critical levels, ViruDefense received grant funding from the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT). This funding helped launch a second manufacturing line that more than doubled mask production volume to a weekly capacity in excess of 450,000 per week.
Still, the growth continues: Baril is installing two additional production lines dedicated to mask production. By the end of October, these four lines will be producing 1 million masks per week. That’s more than 4 million masks per month being delivered to healthcare workers across the country who are providing critical, around-the-clock care.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this project, and honored by the trust ViruDefense has placed in us,” Dan Baril commented. “I’m awed by the relentless dedication the Baril and ViruDefense teams have for helping those who help others. This project has demonstrated what can happen when a group of people is committed to a common goal of saving lives.”