Here's how GM produces thousands of face masks every day for front line workers
WARREN, Mich. (FOX 2) - It's all hands on deck at the GM manufacturing plant in Warren, but they're not making car parts.
We got an inside look at the volunteers who are working around the clock to make thousands of face masks for healthcare workers.
The volunteers have produced and delivered 620,000 face masks to frontline workers just in the last two weeks.
"They are working like crazy to pump out as many face masks as possible," Karsten Garbe told us. He's the project leader for the GM face mask project. Employees at the GM Tech Center in Warren are working 10-hour shifts.
"We have engineers, we have UAW workers, we have people from all corners of this company working on this," said Jim Glynn, GM VP of Workplace Safety.
Each day about 100 employees volunteering to come to work must pass a safety test, which includes getting their temperature taken.
Then each employee must use hand sanitizer, and get any dust on them off before putting on a gown, mask, glasses and hair covering before entering what's called "the clean room." It used to be the room where transmissions were built for the Chevy Volt.
Within just two days after setting up the machines, Karsten says they were hoping to have produced 20,000 masks - but made it up to 44,000. Each 10-hour shift, one person pumps out about 2,900 masks.
"Their heart and soul is completely in the topic and they are working, I would say, much faster than we ever expected," Karsten said.
Once the masks are assembled, they go through quality checks. Then they're put into a sanitizing station for 20 minutes.
Karsten says the Detroit Red Wings donated a second station and the Wings contacted the Chicago Black Hawks and Philadelphia Flyers, who also donated two large sanitizing machines.
"It can sanitize everything in 20 minutes, the whole room in 20 minutes. So that's awesome," he said.
They also have the machines to make N-95-style masks but Karsten says they're still in the testing phase. They hope to off and running in the next 1-2 weeks.
"It's a different layer of security over and above what the flat mask provides to the people. It takes some time but we are pretty close."
Karsten says masks have already been delivered to hospitals across the state and they hope to expand to others.
Meanwhile, his volunteers are already receiving thank you letters from healthcare workers.
"That makes us extremely proud and we are very happy to support the community."