Labs, machine shops, cleanrooms - we need your PPE

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PIA Ningbo workers preparing the production line to make surgical masks

As the number of cases of Covid-19 escalates, healthcare workers are crying out for personal protective equipment – and automation companies are responding.

In the US, which has now overtaken China in terms of number of cases, the website www.GetUsPPE.org is coordinating the transfer of unused PPE from private organisations to the healthcare facilities requesting them in the same vicinity.

GetUsPPE.org is a grassroots organisation led by emergency medicine physicians, working to give all PPE proceeds to the frontline healthcare workers most in need.

Critical PPE items such as facemasks, goggles, gloves, and protective gowns are stockpiled in offices and facilities that have been closed due to the pandemic: from labs in universities and corporations, to machine shops, cleanrooms, and engineering and construction job sites.

GetUsPPE.org needs: surgical masks, goggles, face shields, nitrile gloves, isolation gowns, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitiser, scrubs, disposable shoe covers, nasopharyngeal swabs, respirators.

The organisation is in the process of expanding to provide the same service in other countries.

Meanwhile, the automation firm, PIA Automation, has also responded to the outbreak of the virus. It's China facility, PIA Ningbo, has purchase two abandoned production lines from a Chinese medical device manufacturer in order to develop them into fully automated lines for making surgical face masks.

A team of 24 specialists are now working to complete the modification within the next two to three weeks. With a production volume of up to 200,000 masks per day, the two facilities will help to improve the urgently needed medical care, especially in Zhejiang province.

'With these measures, we want to provide fast and effective support to the medical professionals at the front line and the people in the affected regions,' said Haoyong Huang, PIA Ningbo's deputy general manager.

PIA Ningbo will provide the produced masks to the government of Ningbo City, which will arrange the distribution.

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