By Laura Michell
Two northern suburbs companies have switched up their manufacturing processes to make much-needed plastic face shields for frontline workers.
Workers at Ford’s Broadmeadows plant have been putting their design and engineering skills to use to create 100,000 face shields which will be donated to frontline healthcare workers.
The company is also liaising with the federal government to supply the shields to hospitals across the country.
Ford Australia and New Zealand chief executive Kay Hart said prototype face shields were recently tested in five Victorian hospitals, paving the way for Ford to begin the manufacturing of the first 50,000 shields.
The shields are being produced by a core team and are assembled in production cells at Broadmeadows.
“We said from the beginning of COVID-19 that any way we could help, we would help,” Ms Hart said.
“Producing face shields is certainly something new for us, but our innovation team and engineers were able to test a number of different designs in hospitals and with their input, we have been able to get the face shield right for the people who will be wearing them.“
Ms Hart said Ford was working with local suppliers to procure the materials for the face shields.
Meanwhile, Thomastown packing company PACKQUEEN recently received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for its plastic face shield, which is designed to be worn with a P2 mask.
Owner Monique Samara said she felt compelled to help after hearing that essential workers were struggling to get personal protective equipment.
She said the switch to manufacturing face shields had helped PACKQUEEN, which usually makes postage, gift and food packaging, stay afloat and employ two extra people.
“The primary focus of this project has been to help the community by producing an affordable face shield and keeping manufacturing jobs within
Australia,“ Ms Samara said.