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On Saturday, March 21, General Motors (GM), approached Esys Automation, a JR Automation company, to help produce face masks to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The project was aggressive, building an entire mask assembly line capable of producing 50,000 masks a day, and GM needed the equipment running in less than one week.
That afternoon, the leadership teams at Esys and JR Automation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., reviewed the request and planned next steps. Sunday at 11:00 am EDT, our team was assessing the request from GM, designing plans based on readily available parts, and releasing them for build as they went.
By Monday, JR Automation was working across multiple fronts to implement the plan, while GM was quickly prepping the Warren, Michigan clean room for installation:
- JR Automation's engineering and build teams in Nashville and Holland provided input and shared their expertise on this type of system with Esys Automation
- JR Automation's in-house Machining & Fabrication department designed and built customized machinery to assemble the masks
- Controls and mechanical engineering teams worked in parallel with the supply chain team throughout JR Automation to secure all components, despite many supply chains disrupted by the crisis
Builders at Esys Automation worked around the clock to assemble components, delivering the first equipment to GM Friday morning. At 2:30 pm EDT on Friday, March 27, GM produced their first mask in response to the COVID-19 crisis using the line that JR Automation built in six days.
JR Automation is truly honored to partner with customers like General Motors to help combat this pandemic and support our dedicated medical workers on the front lines every day. With the best customers, automation services, and talent in the world, we can and will continue to push innovation forward, no matter the need. Other teams across JR Automation are already gearing up to provide automation solutions for other essential items in response to this crisis.