Mahindra to manufacture Ford-designed face shield at Mumbai plant

by Ajit Dalvi 28 Mar 2020

Mahindra & Mahindra, which is actively engaged in the fight against coronavirus and is assisting the government of India and medical services, is to begin manufacture of a face shield/mask, developed from a design sourced from Ford Motor Corporation, from March 30. 

Ford’s U.S. design team has begun creating and starting to test transparent full-face shields for medical workers and first responders in the USA. The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

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.

In a tweet this evening (March 28), Dr Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, said:  "With a design sourced from our partner Ford Motor, we are now ready to make this Face Shield for use of medical service providers. Targeting to make 500 on Monday and then ramp up."

UPDATE: March 30: At 8.34 am, Dr Pawan Goenka tweeted that the company is to start producing face shields at its manufacturing plant in Kandivli, Mumbai.  

At 10am, Vijay Kalra, CEO, Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd & Chief Manufacturing Operation, Automotive Sector, M&M, tweeted that one of the canteens has been converted into a face shield assembly shop. "Material started pouring in , delivery from today."

Production of face shields at Mahindra & Mahindra's plant in Kandivli, Mumbai plant (Image: Dr Pawan Goenka / Twitter).

M&M also working on developing sophisticated, low-cost ventilator
Meanwhile, the company, is concurrently working on developing a sophisticated but low-cost ventilator. On March 26, in a series of tweets, Dr Goenka had said that Mahindra & Mahindra, along with two large PSUs, is working with an existing manufacturer of high-spec ventilators to help simplify the design and also scale up manufacturing capacity.

The company is hopeful of having a prototype of an automated version of the bag-type mask ventilator (known as Ambu bag) very soon. An update on this is expected on March 29. Dr Goenka's tweet read, " Once proven, this design will be made available to all for manufacturing."

It is understood that the company's personnel at the Kandivli and Igatpuri plants in Maharashtra worked to develop this low-cost ventilator, estimated to cost around Rs 7,500. Referring to the same, Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra, tweeted: "This could be a game-changer in quickly providing large numbers of low cost life savers, particularly when ICU ventilators are still scarce."

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 in for ventilating and oxygenating intubated patients, allowing both spontaneous and artificial respiration.

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