John Deere, in collaboration with the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Assn., announced it is producing protective face shields at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Ill. Deere employees will initially produce 25,000 face shields to meet the immediate needs of healthcare workers in several of its U.S. manufacturing communities.
Materials and supplies are on order to produce an additional 200,000 face shields. The company is using an open-source design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the project and leveraging expertise, skills and innovation of its employee base.
“Our manufacturing and supply management teams, along with our production and maintenance employees, the UAW and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure we could lend our support and protect our healthcare workers during this crisis,” John May, CEO, Deere & Company, remarks. “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we’ve identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country.”
John Deere Seeding Group employees are supporting the special project and are utilizing extensive and robust safety measures adopted across the company to safeguard employees.
“This is a very proud day for the UAW and our UAW members,” Rory L. Gamble, UAW President, says. “I want to recognize the hard work that Secretary-Treasurer and Agriculture Implement Department Director Ray Curry and Region 4 Director Ron McInroy contributed to this effort. This included working to put the necessary health and safety provisions in place for our members to begin manufacturing critically-needed face shields for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this crisis saving lives. We are especially proud of the UAW members who are stepping up to do this critical work.”
The production of protective face shields is one of many initiatives the company and its employees have executed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Efforts in the U.S. have included PPE donations to healthcare facilities; two-to-one employee match program encouraging donations to local food banks and the American Red Cross; production of approximately 18,000 protective face shields for use by factory employees. Additionally employee volunteerism efforts to sew cloth masks for community members are met with a match from the John Deere Foundation for the time invested in this volunteer activity.
Deere has also launched a COVID-19 innovations site to share open-source specifications for related projects, including 3D-printed clips to affix face shields to protective bump caps, found at deere.com/en/covid19/innovations/.