Healthcare workers at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio are among the recipients of face shields manufactured at Honda Engineering North America, Inc. in Marysville. Contributed

One of Ohio’s biggest manufacturers makes 130K face shields

One of Ohio’s biggest manufacturers is using its Buckeye State facilities to make and donate 70,000 face shield kits for health care workers, with plans to donate another 60,000 in coming days, the company said.

Engineers in Honda’s Marysville facility made the kits by designing new uses for high-speed injection molding technology ordinarily used in the production of auto parts, Honda said Monday.

“Team Honda has really stepped up to the challenge on a tight timeframe,” said Hugo Beltran, associate chief engineer at Honda Engineering North America Inc. “We make a car about every 50 seconds, and that’s the same type of approach that we’re taking for these face shields.

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“We’re using our mass production expertise and equipment to produce a large quantity of shields to help people in our communities,” he added.

Honda began the process of making the kits’ face shield frames at five facilities, in response to a huge demand for the face coverings as health care workers and first responders responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honda began the process in a network of five additive manufacturing (or 3D-printing) facilities to produce the shield kits, which require some light assembly.

However, the automaker concluded that the 3-D printers couldn’t meet the volume the company needed, so instead, Honda engineers turned to a plastic injection molding process, another in-house capability.

“After studying various designs in consultation with health care professionals, the team of Honda engineers began building a special die to enable the plastic injection molding equipment to produce over 3,000 face shields an hour,” Honda said.

“It was a comprehensive effort with our Honda design and manufacturing teams working together to quickly solve this challenge,” said Eric Walli, regional planning leader of Honda North America.

Kettering Health Network has already received 10,000 of the face shield kits. The hospital network said the shields will be distributed to network hospitals to “continue protecting the safety and well-being of staff.”

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