Litchfield Company Begins Face Mask Production

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“We’re grateful to have the opportunity to continue to work in the pandemic,” said Karen Watson, CEO of International Filter Manufacturing Corporation in Litchfield. “It’s been quite the year.”

And this year, the company has rolled out a new product to help keep people safe during the pandemic, a four-layer face mask, with full production slated to roll out in January.

“We are a filtration company that creates filter-based products,” Watson said. “After the pandemic started, I had a customer contact me and asked about face masks, and I told them no.”

Another customer called inquiring about face masks, and by the time the third customer called, Watson said she would consider it.

They first tried reaching out to a group of local mask makers to sew cloth masks that could have a filter inserted. Watson also reached out to some local companies about sewing masks, where they could possibly build a partnership.

“We’re just not really a company that sews masks,” Watson said.

After weeks of trying, the company decided to purchase some mask making equipment. They worked with existing media for masks and found a combination of materials for a face mask prototype with four layers, although still very breathable.

“What we found is that so many of the face masks are sourced outside the United States,” Watson said. “And it’s just a tragedy when that supply chain is cut off. We are proud to continue to employ people in the United States and wholeheartedly support bringing jobs to America.”

International Filter is currently handing out samples of their new face masks to local businesses, and plans to continue to market the product, even after the pandemic to first responders and others in the medical field, who wear face masks every day for their jobs.

Watson said they are working on getting their FDA (Food and Drug Administration) certification for the masks for use in the medical community. Right now, they have emergency use authorization due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are up and running and are beginning to fill some orders,” Watson said. “We will be fully up and running after the first of the year.”

International Filter Manufacturing Company was started in Litchfield in 1987, and they continue to manufacture and distribute heavy duty air and HVAC filtration solutions to industries around the world. 

“There are some really great companies here in Litchfield doing some really great things, and we are proud to be a part of it,” Watson said.

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