Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) is planning to produce a half million commercial grade face shields for health care facilities and emergency operations from coast-to-coast.

In fact, many face shields have been delivered or on their way such as those delivered to Vanderbilt University last week.

Georgetown’s TMMK, like all Toyota manufacturing plants, is idle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Production of the face shields actually began in late March at Toyota’s Production Engineering and Manufacturing Center (PEMC). Since then the production team has focused on ramping up production of the shields by designing special injection molds, utilizing the same technology the manufacturer uses to produce vehicle interior components. Toyota’s current production plans call for nearly 70 percent of the face shields made for North America will be manufactured at TMMK.

“The ability to quickly pivot our facilities to make face shields in mass quantities is a testament to our incredibly skilled workforce,” said Susan Elkington, TMMK president. “Our team members’’ passion for innovation and desire to meet the needs of our community demonstrates the heart of team members and reflects our desire to be a good neighbor in our communities we call home.”

In addition to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, other hospitals and health departments which have already received face masks include: Kentucky Dept. of Public Health, Georgetown Community Hospital, University of Kentucky Healthcare, Baptist Health, St. Joseph Hospital, Veteran Affairs Hospital in Lexington, Harrison County Memorial Hospital, Bourbon County Hospital, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Clark Regional Hospital, Frankfort Regional Hospital, St. Claire Regional Hospital, Appilachian Region Healthcare and Fleming County Hospital.

“With all the expertise and resources we have at Toyota, I knew there was something we could do to help supply protective equipment to those on the front lines,” said Pascal Renouil, general manager of the advanced technology at Toyota’s Manufacturing Project Innovation Center (MPIC). Renouil led the face shield project.

“I am certainly proud of the overwhelming response from my colleagues, who acted quickly, using their skills and ingenuity, to bring together the resources and plans necessary to start production of these shields — it’s been a total team effort.”

Toyota plants in Alabama and Texas, along with the Toyota Research and Development facility in Michigan, are assisting in the production. Face shields produced by Toyota were designed and developed in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for use over surgical or other masks.

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com.

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