Deere and Co. is in the process of making 25,000 protective face shields, with supplies being ordered for the production of an additional 200,000 to be made at its Moline Seeding Group, the company said Thursday.
The news is in response to nationwide calls for more personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Production on protective face shields started Wednesday at the Moline factory, which normally manufactures planting and precision ag equipment.
Expecting to produce 25,000 face shields in the initial stages of production, Deere has ordered supplies to produce an additional 200,000 face shields.
Face shields will be distributed by factories in Deere’s network to meet “immediate needs of health care workers” in local communities.
“We knew that we needed to do more to help the true heroes in the fight against this virus — the front-line health care workers,” said David Ottavianelli, Deere director of strategic projections and labor relations.
The first 25,000 face shields will be delivered to 16 Deere factories in eight states as well as the company’s U.S. Deere-Hitachi factory for local distribution, the company said in a release.
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“We recognize this won’t meet all the need,” Ottavianelli added, “but we have additional orders in place to produce up to 200,000 more and we continue to work on getting more material beyond that.
“Material is the key element in this entire process.”
Deere is collaborating with the UAW, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. To fulfill production, Ottavianelli said Deere is starting new relationships with suppliers.
Deere is not currently set up to take additional mask requests, company officials said, though updates will be provided as available.
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