As part of its fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Honda engineers have developed new methods to use to produce critically needed face shields and have donated 70,000 face shields to healthcare workers at 305 medical facilities in 45 states to date.
Honda engineers at Honda Engineering North America (EGA) made the face shields by designing new uses for high-speed injection-molding technology that is used in the production of vehicle components.
Hugo Beltran, associate chief engineer at EGA said, “Team Honda has really stepped up to the challenge on a tight timeframe. We make a car about every 50 seconds, and that’s the same type of approach that we’re taking for these face shields”.
Honda began making face shield frames using a network of 3D printers at five manufacturing facilities. But engineers determined that the 3D printers could not produce the volume to meet expected demand. Honda engineers began looking at other options and found plastic injection molding.
Honda associates worked with the U.S. FDA and the CDC to understand requirements and ensure that the shields were suitable for contact with skin.
Now by using plastic injection molding equipment Honda is producing over 3,000 face shields per hour.
Eric Walli, Regional Planning Leader of Honda North America said, “We were looking at materials, doing scientific work to understand if what we put in a face shield would be safe for humans to wear and all of this was occurring as we sought to rapidly begin, and then ramp up production”.
In Canada, Honda worked with two manufacturers to quickly expand their ability to produce face shields. Honda engineers collaborated with Ontario-based Molded Precision Components (MPC) to convert a warehouse into a manufacturing center for the frame components. Once the frames were produced at MPC, Honda helped establish a supply chain to Sterling Industries in Concord, Ontario, where the headband and Mylar shields were assembled.
Beside producing face shields, Honda has been involved in many other initiatives to address COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Assembling components for ventilators
- Providing modified Honda Odyssey minivans to protect the safety of the transport driver
- Pledging $1 million to provide the most vulnerable North American communities with food
- Engaging and empowering its associates in North America to help people in need in their local communities
- Donating more than 200,000 items including gloves, N95 masks, alcohol wipes, half-mask respirators and other types of protective gear
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