One of the key problems with sleep apnea masks in the early days of the technology was air leakage. The common solution was to simply make the mask fit tighter, but then this caused wearer discomfort. Recognizing an opportunity to change the sleep apnea world by improving mask fit and performance, Respironics engaged Jamestown Plastics to help them solve several manufacturing challenges including the merging of two very unlike materials, the hard polyurethane mask itself and the soft silicone gasket.
Jamestown Plastics essentially served as Respironics’ R&D department on this project. The Respironics engineering team was on site full time in our Brocton, NY facility for months until the project was successfully completed, demonstrating the lengths we will go to for our customers. During this time, we developed new forming technology and three-dimensional laser cutting technology. In the end, the new mask became the standard for over a decade, revolutionizing sleep apnea mask performance and allowing the industry to experience substantial growth.