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Honda is donating 130,000 face shields to medical staff around the US

The shields are being made by Honda of Canada as well as Honda's plant in Marysville, Ohio.

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One of the few nice things to happen during this whole COVID-19 pandemic is that several companies in the automotive sector have worked to draw on their technical and manufacturing expertise to help provide solutions for the shortage of personal protective equipment for front-line medical professionals.

Honda has already done this in several ways, including by turning several Odyssey minivans into dedicated coronavirus testing transport vans in Detroit, but it's not stopping there. In fact, it just announced on Monday that it's been working to ramp up production of its own face shields and plans to distribute more than 130,000 of them to medical staff around the US.

That's some feel-good stuff, right? But how is it planning on pulling this all off?

Well, Honda Engineering North America (aka the captive company that lives at the brand's Marysville, Ohio, manufacturing plant and designs most of the plant's equipment) found a way to use its existing plastic injection molding equipment to make the clear plastic face shields.

While that's happening, a group of companies in Canada -- including Honda of Canada Manufacturing -- is making the frames. Together, the two operations have already made and distributed 70,000 face shields to 305 medical facilities across 45 states and are hard at work on the next planned 60,000 units.

"It was a comprehensive effort with our Honda design and manufacturing teams working together to quickly solve this challenge," Eric Walli, regional planning leader of Honda North America, said in a statement. "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."

But wait, there's more. As you might imagine, determining which medical facilities most need all those face shields, let alone distributing them, is a daunting task. That's why Honda enlisted its sizable US dealer network to help out on both counts.

"We are incredibly grateful for this generous and much-needed donation from Honda," said Gregory Monette, interim CEO of Community Hospital of Huntington Park in Southern California. "Our physicians, nurses and staff are working tirelessly to care for the community, and these face shields help to protect our workers and patients." 

Good job, Honda!

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