CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A world-leading supplier of engines headquartered in Hampton Roads, has shifted gears to support healthcare heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. 

With thousands of employees across the country, Volvo Group North America which includes Chesapeake-based Volvo Penta, recognized quickly that they could really pool their manpower and resources to do great things.

Now, they’re manufacturing thousands of face shields and ear guards, stepping up to meet the great need for PPE.

Frontline workers have repeatedly said since the beginning of this pandemic that as they risk their lives to save ours, they’ve done so with a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE

Well, when engineers with big hearts put their minds together, the result helps protect those serving their country so well.

“With teams looking at things like the best designs, materials to use, and production techniques, we were able to come together and produce thousands of PPE units for distribution all across the country,” said Christine Carlson, Volvo Penta marketing communications manager.

Face shields that they’ve manufactured have been donated to Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Bayview Physicians Group and VCU Medical hospital to date.

All of the equipment was produced in Chesapeake using an SLS 3D printing system along with a few components from their other Volvo Group business areas.

At their engineering office in Germantown, Wisconsin, they’re manufacturing ear guards to help alleviate pain often experienced by healthcare workers wearing face masks for long hours. To date, more than 1,500 of those have been delivered to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and pharmacies in seven states.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know that we can make a difference, big or small, to support the heroes that are fighting on the front lines of this [pandemic],” said Carlson.

She says innovation and creating new technology is nothing new for Volvo Penta, but this experience has been like no other.

In addition to the PPE production efforts, Volvo Penta has also made a charitable donation to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore to make sure no one goes hungry during this difficult time. 

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