It is often said that it takes a common enemy to unite distant parties. The Coronavirus is certainly that: it has given us a common enemy to rally against, in a joint effort that is based on our shared condition of human beings, vulnerable to this new threat. In Italy, this has determined an unprecedented endeavour by brands and companies, with everyone pulling their weight for the greater good. With most production lines halted or slowed down, several brands have reconverted their facilities to produce masks, respirators, ventilators, and disinfectants, to help control the spread of the virus, protect healthcare workers, and care for those who are already sick.
Universities, researchers and companies pooled their resources to produce surgical masks and ppe
One excellent example of a joint effort to help in the fight against the Coronavirus is the recently styled “Apulian model”. A group of researchers and university professors from the Bari Polytechnic joined forces with several local companies producing textiles, clothing, shoes, sanitary pads, and diapers, to guide the reconversion of their factories towards the production of surgical masks and protective gear.
From cars to ventilators
In Italy, only one company – Siare Engineering, located near Bologna – was producing pulmonary ventilators before this crisis. Needless to say, they haven’t been able to cope with the increased demand, despite stopping all international orders to focus exclusively on sending their products to Italian hospitals. Five companies from the south of Italy came to the rescue, offering compatible electronic and mechanical components to help in the production. Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler will contribute too, converting some of their facilities to assemble Siare ventilators.
Big Pharma and make up brands to the rescue
The effort, of course, was bound to be extended to pharmaceutical companies, who are on the frontline of the fight against the Coronavirus. In Florence, Big Pharma brand Menarini will increase the production of hand sanitizers and disinfectants, to be given to Italian hospitals and healthcare workers for free. The special factories designed for this production line are set to churn out over five tons of sanitizing gels per week. A similar effort is being undertaken by Davines, a Parma-based company specialising in make-up and beauty products, whose factories are going to produce hand sanitizer for the Red Cross and for several volunteer organisations currently supporting the National Health Service, as well as charities who shelter and take care of immigrants and asylum seekers.
Italian fashion raises to the task
Several Italian fashion brands too responded to the call for technical and protective equipment by healthcare workers. Armani – not for the first time – acted quickly and responded immediately by reconverting part of its production line to disposable lab coats for hospital workers and making generous donations to the hospitals in Bergamo, Piacenza, and Versilia. A similar endeavour was undertaken by Herno, whose factories are currently producing approximately 10.000 lab-coats and 25.000 masks per month, while the textile brand Miroglio is driving towards a production goal of 100k masks a day. Confindustria Moda, the guiding authority for the fashion industry in Italy, has sent out a call to the footwear industry, to provide the kind of synthetic textiles that can be used effectively in the production of masks. Brands like Prada, Valentino, and Gucci have responded enthusiastically. Calzedonia and Prada too have reconverted their facilities to produce lab coats, protective gear, and masks.