200331-F-DN255-0050.JPGLast week In Moline, Illinois-based large manufacturer John Deer announced that they have started producing protective face shields for health care workers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They have collaborated with the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, and several different companies and organizations across the country to produce these face shields.

John Deere has planned operations to develop 25,000 face shields in the first round and has plans for 200,000 more down the line. The initial run hopes to meet the needs of health care workers in heavily impacted communities.

The company is using an open-source design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the project and will continue to improve production through the skills and expertise of their employees. John May, Chief Executive Officer, Deere & Company said “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we've identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country."

They hope they can safeguard their employees through protective safety measures while producing these shields for medical workers. Rory L. Gamble, the UAW President said “We are especially proud of the courageous UAW members who are stepping up to do this critical work.” The production of these face shields is one of the many initiatives John Deere has started in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other efforts in the U.S. include:
• PPE donations to health care facilities.
• 2:1 employee match program encouraging donations to local food banks and the American Red Cross.
• Production of approximately 18,000 protective face shields for use by factory employees.
• Employee volunteerism efforts to sew cloth masks for community members, along with a match from the John Deere Foundation for the time invested in this volunteer activity.
• Launch of a COVID-19 innovations site to share open-source specifications for related projects, including 3D-printed clips to affix face shields to protective bump caps.

For additional information on John Deere’s response to COVID-19, they have a Coronavirus Update Center. The company continues their efforts to support their communities during this virus crisis.