Employees at three Volvo truck plants in the U.S. are hard at work – but they’re not building big rigs. Instead, the facilities are producing personal protective equipment for local medical facilities. The goal is to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to support the communities in which the employees live and work. The company is also making donations to local nonprofit organizations.
“Our employees and our communities are extremely important to Volvo Trucks,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “We want to do what we can to help during the current situation, whether it’s designing and manufacturing critical PPE or through financial or in-kind donations, and we’re very proud of our employees who played such a vital role in these efforts.”
The plants producing personal protective equipment include Volvo’s Technical Center in Greensboro, North Carolina; the New River Valley (NRV) manufacturing plant, where all Volvo trucks for North America are assembled, based in Dublin, Virginia; and the Volvo Group Powertrain facility, where the powertrain for North America is assembled, based in Hagerstown, Maryland. Using existing technology, each site is now assembling various types of personal protective equipment based on material availability and local demand.
At the NRV truck plant in Dublin, Virginia, a team of employees in various functions created multiple versions of a face shield design until one impressed local medical professionals and met their requirements. An ear guard, with the message “Heroes at Work” incorporated into the design as a gesture of gratitude to those working with patients, is also in production at NRV. To date, NRV has delivered about 650 face shields, ear guards and N95 face masks to LewisGale Hospital in Pulaski, Virginia; Twin Counties Hospital in Galax, Virginia; VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia; and various fire department and emergency medical services units in Pulaski County, Virginia.
“The face shield is one of the most difficult pieces of equipment to find in our area,” said Franky Marchand, vice president and general manager at NRV. “I’m extremely proud of the resourcefulness and willingness to help that our employees – and even their families – exhibited working to create these headbands, which very much exemplifies the ‘can-do’ attitude that we’ve come to expect from our NRV employees.”
At the Volvo powertrain facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, engineers used existing designs and a 3D printer to manufacture face-shield headbands and ear guards, piloted and revised by employees at the site until the products satisfied local medical professionals. Employees who are working from home and who have their own 3D printers also are printing personal protective equipment. A total of 700 face shields and ear guards have been delivered to Meritus Health Center, in Hagerstown, Maryland; WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania; a Homewood Retirement Center in Maryland; and the site’s Family First Medical Center & Pharmacy.
The Volvo powertrain facility has also committed to donating healthy snacks on a weekly basis to the Hagerstown YMCA, which was mandated to provide child care for medical professionals and first responders, until the COVID-19 situation is over.
“The ingenuity of employees at the Hagerstown facility has never been more evident than during COVID-19,” said Marcus Minkkinen, vice president of powertrain production at the Hagerstown Powertrain facility. “We are pleased to be able to support our community through the teamwork of our employees and the manufacturing of PPE that is so vital during this time.”
In Greensboro, North Carolina, employees at the Technical Center are using 3D printers and stereolithography (SLA) 3D systems to produce face shields and ear guards. They have delivered about 1,000 items to Cone Health in Greensboro. Previously the company donated to several thousand pieces of personal protective equipment to Cone Health, such as safety glasses, gloves and various types of masks, from the facility’s internal stock.
In addition, the Volvo Group recently donated $40,000 to the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund, established by the United Way, City of Greensboro and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro to support local children and families impacted by the virus, as well as $20,000 to the Out of the Garden Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to those facing food insecurity in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina.
“It’s great to see the drive and commitment from our employees at several Volvo facilities across the U.S., teaming up to share best practices and collectively making a contribution to local communities,” said Voorhoeve.