JCB set to help with ventilator production

JCB equipmentImage source, JCB
Image caption,
JCB has supplied ventilator housing prototypes to Dyson

A JCB factory shut due to the coronavirus outbreak is set to reopen to produce parts for life-saving ventilators.

The plant, in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, normally manufactures cabs for diggers, but shut almost two weeks ago.

It will now be used to make steel housings for ventilators designed by Dyson, if the tech firm receives regulatory approval.

The government has already ordered 10,000 of them from Dyson.

The first prototypes have been created and production would see about 50 JCB employees return to work.

Image source, Dyson/PA Media
Image caption,
The government order is still subject to the ventilators passing stringent medical tests but that is expected to happen quickly

JCB had suspended production at its nine UK plants on 18 March, until at least the end of April.

The company is paying its 6,500 staff 80% of their basic pay for the next month and employees returning to help make the ventilator housings will receive full pay.

JCB was one of numerous UK engineering firms approached by the government earlier this month to help produce ventilators.

They are vital pieces of equipment in the fight against coronavirus, taking oxygen into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide when people are too ill to breathe on their own.

"This project has gone from design to production in just a matter of days," JCB founder Lord Bamford said.

"This is also a global crisis, of course, and we will naturally help with the production of more housings if these ventilators are eventually required by other countries."

Image source, JCB
Image caption,
The first prototypes have been delivered to Dyson after being produced in Uttoxeter

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