26 April 2020
Toyota has utilised its advanced design, technology and production expertise to help assist the medical community in protecting them from the COVID-19 virus by developing and manufacturing desperately needed face shields.
The face shields were designed and prototyped in-house by Toyota’s Product Planning and Development (PP&D) team in Port Melbourne using Computer Aided Design (CAD).
A production line using high-precision CNC routers to cut the design has also been established in the PP&D facility with the help of the Toyota Production System Support Centre (TSSC). The approved and tested face shields have been supplied to medical staff in hospitals this week.
The production line is able to produce a face shield every minute, currently delivering to hospitals around Melbourne to help meet the enormous demand for medical protective wear.
Toyota has forecasted initial materials and labour for approximately 2,000 face shields to be produced and donated free of charge to various hospitals around Melbourne. The team is in talks to scale up to significantly higher volumes with the help of manufacturing partners and suppliers.
Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the medical staff treating patients in hospitals were on the front line and their protection was imperative in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
“Every day, these people are literally putting their lives on the line to deal with this situation and we at Toyota have the advanced technology, design and manufacturing expertise to rapidly develop and produce the essential protective supplies they need,” Mr Hanley said.
“So that’s what we have done through our PP&D facility in Port Melbourne, turning around a studio that normally designs and develops parts and components for vehicles, to one producing essential medical supplies.
“This is just one way we can help to support the community through these difficult times and be there for Australians in need,” he said.
With its advanced prototyping technology, Toyota was able to rapidly turn the design into a product that can be produced quickly and in large quantities. The TSSC team can utilise the Toyota Production System to quickly replicate and scale up production using other manufacturing partners and/or social enterprises to supply hospitals in need.
In addition to producing the face shields, the team at Toyota is studying other products, including a hyperbaric hood that could potentially be rapidly developed, prototyped and manufactured locally to meet the needs of the medical community.
The project was initiated through a partnership with 3DEME (3D Emergency Medical Equipment), an organisation established to accurately identify the critical needs of hospitals in Victoria and coordinate the rapid design, prototyping, testing and manufacture of such equipment locally.
It was founded by consultants Victoria Wells and Lauren Lavercombe and now includes Dr Prash Puspanathan – who works in the Crisis and Assessment Treatment Team at the Alfred Hospital and is a member of the Emergency Medical Supplies Working Group (EMSWG) – along with Toyota Australia Manager Technical Services Prototyping and Operations Cameron Brimelow, on the team.
Read the full media release.