The news these days can be pretty unsettling. 

So it’s important to take note when there are good things happening–when people step up to do what’s needed and help the greater good. 

One trend we’ve seen in the last few weeks has been manufacturers shifting production to contribute to fighting coronavirus. 

Whether it’s devoting a little extra capacity to pick up slack in a supply chain or a full-bore mobilization, these manufacturers are helping public health authorities get the equipment they need.

From Cars to Face Masks

BYD Co., a chinese-electric car manufacturer, has diverted a significant percentage of its resources to producing protective facemasks. 

According to Bloomberg, BYD Co. is now producing more facemasks than anyone else in the world, with plans to increase capacity.

This is a much needed intervention in a crisis where medical professionals are imperiled by a “dire shortage of masks”.

NPR reports that other manufacturers are following suit. In China, manufacturers whose normal products range from iPhones to sneakers are now stepping in to meet increasing world demand for masks. 

By February 22, China alone is producing up to 54.8 million masks a day. 

From the Hard Stuff to the Healthy Stuff

If you’ve been to your local grocery store or pharmacy recently, chances are you had a hard time finding hand sanitizer. 

Alongside masks, hand sanitizer is an important tool for preventing the spread of infection.

So distilleries across the United States are starting to help out.

CNN reports that distilleries are using the ethanol they produce on site to make small batches of hand sanitizer. Many are even giving it away for free. Others are making high-proof disinfectant and donating it to businesses that need to sanitize surfaces often. 

Similarly, global luxury giant LVMH is shifting production in some of its fragrance facilities to hand sanitizer.

Multi-National Effort to Make Ventilators 

Ventilators are crucial for sustaining patients through the worst symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new corona virus.

While international agencies coordinate a massive reallocation of existing ventilators to the places that need them most–itself a feat of logics and collaboration–manufacturers are scrambling to help.

While solutions remain slow here, industry giants such as Dyson, Airbus, GM, and Ford are actively looking into shifting production toward ventilators. 

Beyond large manufacturers, many organizations are actively coordinating open-source ventilator production as a stop-gap. 

3d Printing Parts 

The shortage of facemasks and ventilators is exacerbated by a simple fact: both are surprisingly hard to make. This is true in good times, and it’s especially true now. 

In light of supply chain disruption and part shortages, facilities with additive manufacturing expertise are producing necessary parts. 

In Italy, volunteer groups are printing valves that are crucial to keeping ventilators running. 

In Spain, BCN3D has pledged a full printer farm to printing medical components. 

Closer to home, our Somerville, MA, neighbors at Formlabs are actively coordinating their community to find extra capacity and mobility volunteers in service of filling crucial supply gaps.