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Retooling auto parts plants for COVID medical supplies?

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association is working on having parts suppliers change to make medical supplies.

As auto plants in North America temporarily close due to concerns about coronavirus, Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, is working on having auto parts manufacturers adapt to produce medical supplies.

Volpe said manufacturers can make 500,000 of a given part every year. Right now, the country needs masks, gowns, goggles and ventilators, and Volpe is looking to assign some of the auto manufacturers’ capacity to help with the cause.

“Their response has been overwhelming from model auto parts makers we’re in. Just get us the specs,” he said.

Volpe said right now they’re working with the province and in some cases are in direct contact with medical supply companies to see if they can get a contract to make these products.

“The response was so swift, so many,” he said. “I almost have too many companies saying ‘Let’s do it,’ because I don’t know that we need to make that much stuff.”

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Many companies have been in contact with the federal government and say the most important thing for them is business continuity, outside of restrictions for public safety and public health.

“As long as people are still buying cars and things that we make, it allows everybody to keep working and keeping the work going,” Volpe said.

The shift to medical supplies would be easy enough to do, and they could convert back to automotive manufacturing quickly, he said.

From CBC Windsor

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