Michelin makes PPE, poised to gradually resume tire production

CLERMONT-FERRAND, France — Group Michelin is ready to begin serving the automotive, agricultural and aerospace sectors again.

After halting production in mid-March at most of its European tire plants to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and transitioning operations to help make masks that protect health care workers, first responders and its own employees, the French tire maker said it is poised to resume tire manufacturing gradually and responsibly.

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"Today, the group believes the time has come to gradually resume activity, while implementing reinforced health measures adapted to each site," Michelin said April 21.

Michelin is prioritizing the reopening of its Pneumatiques Kleber agricultural tire plant in Troyes, France, where activities contribute to the farming industry on a daily basis. Plants that manufacture tires for public service vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and army and transport fleets also will take top priority.

But Michelin hasn't lost sight of its commitment to serve its original equipment customers, Michelin CEO Florent Menegaux said in a statement.

Mr. Menegaux said that Michelin is a good place to resume operations. Not only does it have a plan in place to ensure the safety of its workers, it can draw on the experience of relaunching production in China.

"The successful relaunch of our activities in China, combined with Michelin's extremely strong culture of work safety, form a solid foundation for this to happen," Mr. Menegaux said.

Michelin will, at all of its sites, institute safety measures to protect workers upon their return. These include:

  • supplying every employee with masks;
  • providing hand sanitizer and soap;
  • making medical thermometers available for temperature checks; and
  • regularly disinfecting the premises and work spaces.

While the tire maker halted its everyday operations, some workers did return to European plants to help make personal protective equipment and other specialty products for the health care sector. This included making several types of masks, medical device components and patient-positioning cushions as well as hand sanitizer.

For these efforts, Michelin said it leaned on the strengths and expertise of its employees.

Michelin noted that it ramped up its ability to make category 1 surgical makes, making 400,000 each week either on its own premises or by working with partners and subcontractors. In an April 14 statement, Mr. Menegaux said Michelin had the raw material to make 16 million masks.

At the request of French hospitals, Michelin also made polycarbonate sterilization visors for health workers.

"We are mobilizing our metal and plastic 3D printing production tools and know-how not only to manufacture certain types of masks, but also to offset the shortage of essential equipment and design components that will facilitate treatment of the disease," Mr. Menegaux said.

The tire maker also tapped its design and prototyping resources for an effort with health care collaborative Atomic Energy Commission that led to the design, production and distribution of a reusable OCOV mask for health care workers and others battling COVID-19 on the front lines.

Michelin helped to create a workable prototype of an FMP1 / FMP2 mask that features a flexible facepiece covering the nose, mouth and chin, as well as replaceable and reusable filters. The masks themselves are being produced by Ouvry, a Lyon, France-based company that specializes in biological and chemical personal protective equipment, Michelin said.


Source: https://www.tirebusiness.com/coronavirus/video-michelin-makes-ppe-poised-gradually-resume-tire-production


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