GM is broadening the scope of its medical supply manufacturing and charging nothing.
The new medical supplies include face shields, protective gowns and special boxes used to protect workers when a contagious patient is intubated. None of these medical supplies are at the request of the federal government and none of them will cost taxpayers or the hospitals who use them a penny.
These medical supplies are being made by employee volunteers looking to apply their manufacturing skills to help in the fight. The skills include designing parts, programming and operating 3D printers and sewing upholstery. The grassroots efforts began with employees delivering handmade samples to hospitals for feedback. They then tweaked their prototypes based on feedback and created the final designs.
“It’s amazing how much our employees have accomplished in such a short time,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “People from all corners of the company have really stepped up to help, and to lend their talents, time and energy to battle coronavirus.”
GM is working with the State of Michigan’s personal protective prioritization team to identify which hospitals in the state need the equipment most urgently.The Henry Ford Health System is one recipient.
GM is also working with local U.S. manufacturers. Summit Polymers of Kalamazoo, Michigan donated a P20 steel injection mold that will enable GM to increase production from roughly 4,000 to 25,000 face shields per week. GM is purchasing a second injection mold to help increase production up to 50,000 units per week. “We worked with a local shop, S&K Tool & Die, to rapidly design and develop the mold to make the visors that hold the shields in place,” said Jody Flinton, general manager of Summit Polymers Plant 18. “Summit is proud to support GM in the effort to help save lives in our community and help keep our healthcare heroes safe.”
Politicians and mainstream media groups had called for the President to force GM and other automakers to get involved in the medical supply manufacturing business. However, GM began its work before ever receiving a purchase order from the federal government. These latest efforts are unrelated to the Defense Production Act. They are simply American auto workers and companies donating time, money and resources at no cost to the taxpayer, hospitals, or patients.