Polk County company third-largest producer of N95 masks in US

Business is booming for a Polk County medical manufacturing company, thanks to COVID-19.

Advanced Concept Innovations (ACI) is the second-largest producer of N95 masks in the U.S., producing up to 2 million a day while the Omicron variant continues to spread.

The Centers for Disease Control recently said that N95 and KN95 masks protect the wearer and others from the spread of COVID-19 better than cloth masks.

"Ours is not only approved by the CDC, and many of the N95s are not approved by the CDC, but those that are, ours is a step up," Matt Muller, the company’s CEO, told FOX 13. "It is also cleared by the FDA for additional fluid resistance."

MORE: CDC encourages more Americans to consider N95, KN95 face masks

Muller says there are only two other companies that are making more N95 masks in the U.S. than his.

ACI has been making medical supplies and equipment for 15 years and sells to medical facilities and hospitals like Lakeland Regional Health.

MORE: CDC director on face-covering guidance: ‘Any mask is better than no mask’

Two years ago, the owners saw the writing on the wall and knew COVID-19 was going to be a big problem – one that they wanted to address.

"So we just pivoted and re-purposed our assets in machinery and started manufacturing the N95s," Muller said.

N95 mask production at ACI in Lakeland

The company also bought additional technology to make the process more efficient.

Even though experts suggest the omicron variant may have peaked in many areas, Muller says from now on, he suspects the demand for N95 masks will never return to pre-pandemic levels. 

"I think the public has become more educated in the protection it provides," he said.

Muller says as a result, there seems to be a new normal. He expects some people to continue wearing N95 masks anywhere they feel they are at risk for infection.