JCB has said it is poised to re-start production at a factory closed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis in order to join the UK’s national effort to manufacture ventilators.
The company announced that it has received a direct appeal from British prime minister Boris Johnson to help plug the national ventilator shortage and to help save lives of Coronavirus patients. Following the approach, JCB chairman Lord Bamford promised to help in any way the company could and immediately mobilised a research and engineering team to examine potential ways to assist, said JCB.
Now JCB is ready to restart production at a factory which has been closed for nearly two weeks as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. But instead of making cabs for JCB diggers, the plant is being mobilised to make special steel housings for a brand-new design of ventilator from Dyson. A minimum of 10,000 of the JCB housings are earmarked for manufacture once Dyson receives regulatory approval for its design.
The first prototypes of the housings have been delivered to Dyson after rolling off the production line at JCB’s $62m Cab Systems factory in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, UK, which Boris Johnson visited during his election campaign. Mass production of the housings could start in a matter of days, said the company.
JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “When we were approached by the prime minister we were determined, as a British company, to help in any way we could. This project has gone from design to production in just a matter of days and I am delighted that we have been able to deploy the skills of our talented engineering, design and fabrication teams so quickly at a time of national crisis. This is also a global crisis, of course, and we will naturally help with the production of more housings if these ventilators are eventually required by other countries.”