Since there is no cure for the novel coronavirus yet, there is an urgency for safety and protective equipment to be produced rapidly and effectively.
Amidst the pandemic, medical equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment such as face masks, and hand sanitizers are becoming the orders of the day. This has put pressure on manufacturing companies to produce these commodities to meet the demand.
To assist, many non-medical companies are getting on board to help produce protective and medical equipment. Many have also gone the extra mile to invest in Smart Manufacturing technology to work more efficiently to meet the rapidly growing demand.
Here are some of the companies working together to fulfill the needs in the medical manufacturing industry:
- General Motors
The carmaker is one of many companies that is contributing to fighting the virus. General Motors has dedicated its resources to making machines that manufacture surgical masks at a plant in Liuzhou, a southern Chinese city. GM has also brought back to life some of their idle factories to produce ventilators.
Dyson, which is famous for its hand dryers and vacuums, has also joined the fight by producing 15,000 ventilators. The new device, ‘Covent,’ was designed and built by the company in 10 days.
- Rolls Royce
The jet engine manufacturer has also expressed interest in helping the UK government with the production of necessary medical equipment, including ventilators. This is in response to a call by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the country’s businesses to step up in the fight against the virus.
- Louis Vuitton
The French haute couture brand is redirecting resources into the production of medical gowns and face masks for healthcare workers. The Mode Grande Ouest network for textile has joined hands with Louis Vuitton and repurposed many of its Maison’s ateliers to accomplish the goal.
The iPhone manufacturer seems to have found a purpose for its Wisconsin plant. The plans for the site, which was first announced in 2017, have seen many changes, but the plant has now been repurposed to produce ventilators in partnership with Medtronic, a medical device firm. The company is also set to provide face masks for frontline healthcare workers.
The luxury fashion house as of March 2020 also started prepping to produce and distribute over 55,000 pairs of medical gowns and one million masks to healthcare workers in France. This comes with approval from the country’s government in its attempt to address the issue of low supply.
On April 14, 2020, Ford was set to start production of its powered air-purifying respirator with testing and design consultation from 3M. Also, in collaboration with UAW, the company is now producing face masks at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant. The company is also manufacturing reusable gowns from the material used for airbags supplied by Joyson Safety Systems.
Even though these companies are not original manufacturers of medical equipment, most do have the experience, especially machines that make it easy to transition. They have not completely halted the production of their main products but are only changing priorities as and when it’s necessary.
These companies’ new undertakings—combined with the efforts of other manufacturing technology companies and resources—have allowed medical equipment to be produced faster and more efficiently than ever. As they work together, the hope is that through production efforts, the coronavirus pandemic will soon be beat.