Mahindra expands face shield assembly to 8 plants, makes hand sanitiser too

by Ajit Dalvi 13 Apr 2020

Mahindra & Mahindra, which has since early March engaged itself in a number of activities to combat the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, is fast expanding its operations designed to assist medical personnel, the police force and social welfare organisations. These activities include assembly of face shields, development of a low-cost ventilator and also a Mahindra-manufactured hand sanitiser.

The latest news is that Mahindra's Nagpur plant in Maharashtra has started assembling face shields, thereby becoming the eighth plant to produce this coronavirus-fighting kit.

On April 12, the company's Zaheerabad plant in Telangana, which usually rolls out three-wheelers like the Alfa passenger and load carriers, Jeeto small CV, Bolero Camper and Load King trucks, had begun assembly of the same face shields and distribution to the local police, among others. In a tweet, Vijay Kalra, Chief of Manufacturing Operation, Automotive Sector, M&M, said: "With this, ZBD becomes 7th Mahindra Site to assemble Face Shield and distribute to Corona Warriors. Three more sites in pipeline."

On April 9, the company's two-wheeler manufacturing plant at Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, which rolls out the Jawa brand of motorcycles, began assembling face shields. A day later, on April 10, the Haridwar, Uttarakhand plant expanded the same operation, and joined the Kandivali (Mumbai) and Nashik plants in Maharashtra producing the same life-saving kit.

It may be recollected that on March 30, M&M began assembling of the face shield, developed from a design sourced from Ford Motor Corporation, at its Kandivali plant in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids. The ongoing Mahindra and Ford collaborative effort is a good example of a set of automotive industry alliance partners contributing to the fight against coronavirus.

Fast ramping up face shield and face mask production
Mahindra has, till April 10, assembled and distributed over 45,000 units till April 10. The company had initially planned to produce around 25,000 units, but with the positive feedback that it has received from health workers, police and sanitation workers, it is aggressively ramping up capacity. Mahindra may increase the capacity to 250,000 units.

Around 5,000 three-ply face masks are produced at the Kandivali plant and another 4,000 units a day at a vendor partner's premises. 

In terms of production, the company says it anufactures close to 5,000 three-ply facemasks each day at the Kandivali plant and 4,000 units a day with a vendor partner. The aim is to increase it to over 500,000 units. The company says it has undertaken this initiative as part of its contribution towards supporting 'corona warriors', comprising doctors, nursing staff, security forces and sanitation workers.

Responding to a query as to where the Mahindra-manufactured face shields and facemasks are being supplied, Kalra said: “While face shields are going to various parts of country, face masks are mainly being supplied to Mumbai, Pune and Thane.”

“We are really proud of our Plant teams for coming out in the front to make PPEs for frontliners fighting coronavirus. We must applaud them and their families for taking the risk to support bigger purpose," said Kalra.

Mahindra Agri has commenced production of a hand sanitiser.
(Photos: SP Shukla/Twitter)

Mahindra Agri begins production of hand sanitiser
Meanwhile, Mahindra's agri chemicals plant has commenced manufacture of a hand sanitiser which according to SP Shukla, Group President - Aerospace, Defence, Agri & Steel Sectors, Member of Group Executive Board, Chairman - Group Sustainability Council & Mahindra Innovation Academy, was developed " in record time from formulation to license to testing."  The hand sanitiser has received a licence on compliance from the central and Gujarat state authorities.  

M&M names low-cost ventilator AIR100
In another development, M&M which has been working on developing a low-cost ventilator since early March has named the unit 'AIR100'. Last month, Dr Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, had invited suggestions for a name.

M&M has named the AMBU bag respirator 'AIR100'
(Image: Dr Pawan Goenka/Twitter)

In a tweet on April 12, Dr Goenka said: "Received more than 400 suggestions. Combining multiple suggestions the team has opted to call this AMBU bag respirator AIR100. Thank you for helping us with naming this device. After 18 days of 24X7 work our team is almost there. Inputs taken from 10 doctors and few biomedical engineers. Many features and controls added from the first design. 20 machines under endurance testing in our plant."

As per medical dictionaries, an AMBU bag is a self-refilling bag-valve-mask unit with a 1- to 1.5-litre capacity, used for artificial respiration which, while suboptimal for the non-intubated patient, is effective for ventilating and oxygenating intubated patients, allowing both spontaneous and artificial respiration.
(With inputs from Nilesh Wadhwa)

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