Nissan has confirmed it will help manufacture thousands of protective aprons for NHS workers.
A team of staff volunteers at the plant took just eight days to design and build a process onsite to manufacture the plastic aprons.
The move follows a request from the Royal College of Nursing, with help from Unite the union to UK manufacturers urging them to use their spare capacity to help meet the unprecedented demand for PPE.
Initial capacity is 18,000 a week but the team has plans to increase this to over 70,000 within weeks.
Nissan Production Director Adam Pennick said: “We are proud to support our healthcare workers wherever we can during this crisis.
“The team at the plant have done an excellent job in creating a production process in such a short space of time. It really highlights the skill and dedication we have in our team at Sunderland Plant.”
Using technical specifications issued by the Government, the team have set up a manual process to make non-sterile grade aprons out of tear resistant polythene. This is being carried out at the Gateshead College Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, at the plant.
Production started this week and already the plant has 47,000 orders from local NHS trusts.
The project is being carried out in parallel to the plant’s activity to help supply visors to the NHS. As part of that, a team of volunteers created a parts processing line to sort thousands of individual visor parts and pack them in sets of 125 for shipping direct to the NHS, with up to 100,000 being distributed each week.