Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMNA) is working behind the scenes to use its idled plants to assist in fabricating face shields, while collaborating with medical device companies to speed the manufacture of ventilators, respirators and other vital equipment for hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toyota has not released which plants will be used to produce the equipment, but a press release from TMNA headquarters in Plano, Texas, mentioned hospitals in Kentucky as recipients of face shields, which will be fabricated using 3-D printers.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky officials could not comment. TMMK, along with all North American Toyota plants, extended their production shut down to April 20 this week. They were scheduled to reopen April 6.
“Toyota’s core value has always been to contribute to society in meaningful ways beyond providing mobility for our customers,” said Ted Ogawa, incoming CEO, TMNA in a press release. “With our plants idled and our dealers focused on servicing customers, we are eager to contribute our expertise and know-how in order to help quickly bring to market the medical supplies and equipment needed to combat the COVID crisis. Our message to the medical equipment community is we are here to help, please utilize our expertise.”
According to the TMNA press release, medical device companies and related businesses seeking support in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, supply chain and purchasing, may send inquiries to: ToyotaMPICsupport@toyota.com
The press release listed these actions taken by the company in support of curbing the spread of the virus and helping communities across North America:
- Face Shields: Working to produce 3-D printed face shields, and mass production will kick off early next week. The first distribution will be to MD Anderson in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and other hospitals in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan.
- COVID-19 Masks: Ready to produce COVID-19 masks, currently seeking partners for filters.
- Ventilators/Respirators: Finalizing agreements to begin working with at least two companies that produce ventilators and respirators to help increase their capacity.
- Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC): Offering manufacturing/engineering know-how support to companies to increase their capacity for necessary medical supplies and equipment and will continue to be available to them. Currently working to support hospitals/communities on organizing efficient drive-through COVID-19 testing sites.