Vehicle manufacturers have found other ways to use their workforce and structure during the shutdown of their factories due to the coronavirus pandemic.
PSA, which owns the Peugeot and Citroën brands, will stop producing models such as 2008 and C4 Cactus and adapt some facilities at the Porto Real (RJ) plant to make face shields, which will be donated to health authorities in the region's municipalities. .
General Motors, owner of Chevrolet, the sales leader in Brazil, announced that, by the end of April, it wants to repair respirators that are currently out of use. According to GM, 3 thousand devices have already been mapped in this situation across the country. But the number could reach 5,000.
PSA will produce face shields
The face shield is considered an individual protection equipment, or PPE, and is used by professionals who work in hospitals to fight the coronavirus.
The idea came from the general manager of the PSA plant, Charles Costa. He watched the report shown by Jornal Nacional last Monday (23), which showed a project of a university in Rio de Janeiro that uses 3D printers to produce the protectors.
He then remembered that the Porto Real unit had such equipment, which would be idle, since the factory will be paralyzed due to the pandemic.
"After seeing the report, I researched it on my cell phone and found the project. I managed to download the drawing, and the next day, I transferred it to a collaborator who takes care of the factory's printer. We were able to print a test protector," he says.
See the Jornal Nacional report
Technology and solidarity come together to help health professionals in the pandemic
With the success of the first attempt, Costa sought out the factory director, who supported the project.
Typically, the factory printer is used to make experimental parts for vehicles that have not yet been launched.
In the case of facial protectors, it was observed that the printer was capable of producing two of the four necessary parts.
The third component, as well as the cutting of the pieces, would be made in the neighboring city of Resende, by Fablab, a school workshop for technical students, the result of a partnership between Senai and the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro.
The fourth and final piece, a rubber band, will be purchased from an external supplier by PSA. The manufacturer will also be responsible for assembling the part.
Four employees will be responsible for the production of the protectors. They will be delivered sanitized and packaged correctly.
"By the end of the week, we want to deliver the first batch," said the manager. There is still no definition of how many protectors will be made.
GM will fix respirators
Chevrolet will adapt part of two facilities to repair respirators, important devices in the most serious cases of patients with Covid-19.
The initiative was taken in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, Senai and the Brazilian Association of Clinical Engineering, and should also involve other manufacturers, whose names have not yet been informed.
"We make all our factories available, including the Indaiatuba (SP) proving ground," said GM innovation manager, Carlos Sakuramoto.
Respirators leaning against a health facility in Mossoró, RN – Photo: Felipe Gibson / G1
The operation begins with the Ministry of Health, which asks hospitals to include in a database the number of devices stopped, as well as make, model, defect and year of manufacture.
From there, it is possible to know exactly how many there are, and where the broken respirators are. When the survey is completed, in the next few days, the equipment will be taken to the repair sites.
To help with logistics, carriers must be included in the project, as well as other manufacturers willing to assist in the repair of the devices.
At GM's facilities, volunteer employees are already receiving specific training. They are engineers and technicians, specialized in electrical and electronics.
"By finishing the mapping, we will have a better view. The goal is to have at least one team in each location. But, we may have to resort to more volunteers. We have received several calls from employees willing to help," says Sakuramoto.
Volkswagen, deputy sales leader in Brazil, also announced measures to help fight the coronavirus. For now, the actions are vehicle loans and donation of masks.
On Wednesday (25), the automaker said it will donate 2 thousand PFF-2 masks to the city halls of São Bernardo do Campo, Taubaté, São Carlos (SP) and São José dos Pinhais (PR), cities where Volks have factories.
According to the company, they are “part of the company's stock and were used in the production line”.
Volks will also lend 100 vehicles to the cities, as well as to the government of the state of São Paulo.
The goal is for cars to be used for "displacement of doctors and nurses, as well as transportation of medicines and health equipment," the company said in a note.