Expanding its effort to protect healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19, 3M (MMM 0.86%) is collaborating with Cummins (CMI -1.32%) to speed up production of high efficiency particulate filters to be used in 3M's powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs). Before the end of April, employees at Cummin's facility in Neillsville, Wisconsin will pivot from the production of diesel engine filters to the manufacturing of PAPR filters -- an endeavor which 3M estimates has the potential to more than double the current production of filters for its PAPRs.

Once assembled and tested, Cummins will deliver the filters to 3M's plant in Valley, Nebraska, where it manufactures the PAPRs. Addressing 3M's efforts to assist in the battle against the novel coronavirus, Mike Roman, 3M's CEO, said that the company "continues to work around the clock to get personal protective equipment, including PAPRs, to the heroic healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight," adding that the company's "partnership with Cummins will help us produce more of this critical equipment in the coming months."

Gloves, face mask, and safety goggles on an orange background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Providing a more comfortable piece of personal protective equipment than a face mask for healthcare workers who require respiratory protection for extended periods of time, a PAPR uses a battery-powered blower to deliver filtered air into a hood or head covering that protects the head or face.

The partnership with Cummins to expand production of PAPRs isn't the first for 3M. In March, for example, it announced that it was collaborating with Ford to increase production of the badly needed personal protective equipment.