This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Piper Aircraft has opened a new production line at its Vero Beach, Florida, facilities, but instead of airplanes, this line will concentrate on the production of a piece of much-need personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic. The new line began manufacturing face shields last week.
“This is a critical time for our community, our country, and the world,” said Piper COO James Funk. “It is a time for action, cooperation, and collaboration. As a team, we can make a difference for people in need and directly support those fighting the battle on the front lines of this unprecedented crisis.”
According to Piper, its manufacturing engineering team had been looking for ways to help in the pandemic when it fashioned a prototype face shield using off-the-shelf materials, including plastic, industrial tape, foam, and elastic. Following approval of the prototype, the team began sourcing the materials from wholesale suppliers and established the production line. "This is just one small way that we are trying to help,” Funk added. “We want healthcare providers, especially, and patients to be safe, therefore it's vital that we all pull together to help our community, weather this crisis, and come out the other side stronger than ever.”
Piper said it has the ability to produce thousands of face shields daily. In addition to the face shields, Piper said it will be donating more than 1,300 N95 masks to the hospital.