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March 30, 2020

JCB poised to make ventilator housings

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 9:03 am

JCB has announced that it will soon re-start production at a factory that was closed as a result of the Coronavirus, and join the national effort to manufacture ventilators.

Readers will have noted that JCB was forced to shutter operations just last week. However, it seems the company received a direct appeal from Boris Johnson earlier this month to help plug the national ventilator shortage and thus help to save lives of Coronavirus patients.

Following this approach, the company immediately instructed a research and engineering team to examine potential ways it could assist. JCB is now ready to restart production at a factory which has been closed for nearly two weeks. But instead of making cabs for diggers, the plant will produce the steel housings (pictured) for a brand new ventilator designed by Dyson. Some 10,000 housings are earmarked for manufacture once Dyson receives approval for its design.

Prototypes of the housings have already been delivered to Dyson, after rolling off the production line at JCB’s factory in Uttoxeter. The factory fell silent on March 18th along with eight other JCB UK manufacturing plants after a fall in demand caused by the Coronavirus crisis. Production of the new housings could start in a matter of days.

Today 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 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.”

JCB’s response to the national call to action would see the return to work for around 50 employees. JCB suspended production at its nine UK production plants until at least the end of April as a result of the Coronavirus crisis and furloughed the vast majority of its 6,500 workforce. The company is paying them 80% of their basic pay for the next month, regardless of what they earn.

Employees returning to work to help manufacture the ventilator housings will be paid 100% of their normal pay.

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