Endless Summer Technologies, a KwaZulu-Natal based company that innovates, designs and manufactures high-end scuba equipment and respiratory related medical components, has launched its second generation PPE half face mask, the SOLA GUARDIAN.
Owner and director, Rhys Couzyn, said that the new mask, when used with FMP2 level filters (INEX RFT Nanofiber Filter), was not only suitable for medical use but also for use in other high risk environments. It is more rugged, has a lower profile that allows for easier breathing and is far more comfortable than existing masks on the market.
“ In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that medical and other front line workers are having to wear PPE for eight hours or more a day, there is a need for masks that are more user friendly. We’ve produced a mask that is not only more effective and functional but deals with two of the greatest irritations associated with wearing a mask for long periods – the fogging of glasses and the ability to speak clearly and communicate with patients,” Couzyn said.
The Solaa Guardian, which meets FMP2 requirements and is in the process of securing both NRCS and SAHPRA approval, has been developed around what the company calls the three E’s – ergonomic, economic and environment.
Couzyn says that the ergonomic features of the new mask include greater comfort thanks to a soft, medical grade elastomer skirt with a revised nose profile and thinner seal. This not only improves comfort when worn over longer periods of time but also means that glasses do not fog up.
The Sola Guardian reduces condensation due to its enlarged breathing orifice as well as a moisture trap on the outside of the case and a condensation pad that absorbs any moisture that accumulates at the chin of the mask.
The new larger diameter breathing orifice coupled with a larger filter surface area makes for easier breathing, more audible speech and better filtration efficacy.
A single, soft silicone head strap sits over the crown of your head and features SOLA’s unique ‘Secure-Lock’ buckles that are easy to adjust single-handedly yet grip tighter the harder you pull, ensuring the mask stays firmly in place. It also makes it possible to wear the mask around your neck when not in use.
Couzyn says that the new mask will result in considerable cost savings. “On average, a 30-day supply of N95 masks would cost upwards of R750 per person. In the first month of use, our Guardian would cost R199-95 for the mask and R149-95 for 30 FMP2 filters, which equates to a total operating cost of R349-90. This is less than half of the conventional cost. In subsequent months, the operating cost would be restricted to just the replacement filters, so less than R5 per day, a fraction of the normal disposable N95 route.”
The Solar Guardian is resistant to most cleaning agents so can easily be disinfected and can even be washed in a dishwasher at a high temperature to guarantee ongoing hygiene.
When it comes to the environment, the Sola Guardian is fully recyclable and the filters, while disposable, weigh only 0.18g. So, in in comparison to a regular disposable N95, an absolute fraction of material is being disposed of each day.