Clermont-Ferrand, France - Michelin has launched its first automated mask production workshop in France, to manufacture protective masks mainly for its 68,000 employees in Europe.
Built at its Combaude plant near Clermont-Ferrand, the €3.5 million facility manufactures 3 million standard type I or IIR single-use surgical masks per month, said the French group in a 26 March statement.
Production will ramp up to include 1 million FFP2 masks per month from summer 2021.
The French group said the masks will be primarily used to protect its employees and any surplus would be sold in order to contribute to the fight against epidemics.
As part of the project, Michelin collaborated with French machinery maker Cera for the procurement of some of the machines used in the workshop.
Responding to the French government’s call for relocating medical equipment production to the country, Cera subsidiary Imeca and Michelin joined forces to use the tire maker’s engineering know-how to increase production capacity for new machines.
“Thanks to this partnership and to five other assemblers who have joined the project, Cera's annual production has increased from two to 52 machines,” Michelin added.