Mercedes-Benz SA will manufacture PPE at its East London plant

Face shield. Image: Motorpress
Face shield. Image: Motorpress

The local motor industry received good news this week with the announcement that the sale of new and used cars will resume, albeit with limited personal contact and strict hygiene controls need to be adhered to. 

Wheels24 reported that the phased approach announced by Minister Ebrahim Patel sees dealerships running at 30% staff capacity, increasing to 60% and finally restoring 100% of staff on-site, by June 8. 

Automotive assembly is an important cog in the economy and accounts for 30% of South Africa's manufacturing output, Lance Branquinho wrote. 

While we wait on the car manufacturers to resume their core operations, Mercedes-Benz announced that from May 4 2020 its East London has undergone a phased re-opening. 

But don't expect a C-Class to roll off the production line, instead the German luxury carmaker will be manufacturing the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of 3D printed recyclable plastic face shields for use in mass screening, clinics and hospitals in the Eastern Cape. 

There are currently 12 074 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country according to Health24.

The company says it is awaiting "pending quality assurance regulatory approval" to also produce and supply Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) breathing aid devices from the plant for the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health. 

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has been developing these breathing aids and the company's local arm hopes to follow suit by providing more than 1000 face shields and CPAP devices per month, once approved. 

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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Image: Motorpress

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