Nissan to make face shields for health care workers in Japan
Nissan will begin making protective face shields for health care workers in Japan who are on the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
The current plan calls for making 2,500 shields a month. Production will start this month at the Nissan Technical Center, the Nissan Research Center, and the company’s Yokohama Plant.
In addition, in response to a request from the Japanese government, Nissan is studying ways to support companies that manufacture ventilators and artificial heart-lung machines. Nissan plans to help these producers by proposing improvements to manufacturing procedures, providing working space or manpower to help companies step up production, and supplying parts that are in shortage.
Nissan has already started similar initiatives in other regions. In the U.S., the company is making protective face shields for health care workers in Michigan, Mississippi and Tennessee.
In the UK, a team of volunteers from the Nissan Sunderland Plant have been supporting the delivery of protective face shields. More than 77,000 shields will leave the plant by the end of this week, and from next week, up to 100,000 shields will be distributed weekly. Nissan provided additional funds for an injection moulding tool that greatly increases the number of shields produced.
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In Spain, Nissan is beginning production of medical respirators in collaboration with Hospital de Sant Pau, the engineering company QEV Technologies and the Eurecat technology center. Manufacturing of the respirators will begin this week at Nissan’s Powertrain Plant in Barcelona.
The initiative from Nissan comes at a time when the company is going through a tough time. Nissan's management has become convinced the struggling automaker needs to be much smaller and a restructuring plan due out next month would likely assume a cut of 1 million cars to its annual sales target.
As of December, Nissan's automotive operations had negative free cash flow of 670.9 billion yen, a more than 6-fold increase from a year ago. Nissan has requested a $4.6 billion commitment line from major lenders to cushion the impact of the pandemic while it seeks to engineer the desperately needed turnaround.