June 8 2020 07:48 AM

The company donated 70,000 face shields to health care workers in 45 states.

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, Ohio.
Photo: Honda

Engineers from Honda Engineering North America, Marysville, Ohio, developed new methods to use manufacturing equipment to produce face shields, and donated 70,000 face shields to health care workers in 305 medical facilities in 45 states. Honda has plans to donate another 60,000.

Engineers designed new uses for high-speed injection molding technology ordinarily used in the production of vehicle components. EGA manufactures face shields, and a multi-company effort in Canada that includes Honda of Canada Manufacturing is making frames, shields and headbands for additional units. EGA is the in-house company that creates much of Honda’s production equipment.

“Team Honda has really stepped up to the challenge on a tight timeframe,” says Hugo Beltran, associate chief engineer at EGA. “We make a car about every 50 seconds, and that’s the same type of approach that we’re taking for these face shields. We’re using our mass production expertise and equipment to produce a large quantity of shields to help people in our communities.”

Honda began making face shield frames in March, using a network of 3D printers at five manufacturing facilities. Converting machines and processes that make plastic parts for automobiles into a production line for face shields was a complex task. Honda associates also worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand requirements and ensure that the shields were suitable for contact with skin. The single-use shields have been authorized for use during the COVID-19 pandemic by the FDA pursuant to an emergency use authorization.

After studying various designs in consultation with healthcare 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 per hour.

In Canada, Honda worked with two manufacturers seeking to quickly expand their ability to produce face shields. Honda engineers and manufacturing associates from Honda of Canada Mfg. collaborated with Ontario-based Molded Precision Components to convert a warehouse into a manufacturing center for the frame components.

Once the frames were produced at MPC, Honda helped establish a supply chain to Sterling Industries in Concord, Ontario, where the headband and Mylar shields were assembled. At Sterling, Honda used its manufacturing expertise to design and develop automatic packing lines to prepare the shields for high-volume shipping. With increased production capacity, Honda will help the companies pursue Sterling's internal goal of producing 27 million face shields to be distributed throughout Canada.