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7 brands responding to COVID-19 by innovating in their production

14 August 2020

While the rest of the world adheres to government instruction to stay home and practice social distancing, car manufacturers, the fashion industry and heroic start-ups the world over are shifting production in line with what’s needed to get through this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here’s our round-up of who’s doing what.

1. Ferrari will manufacture hospital respirators to help with COVID-19

Ferrari is getting ready to turn its ability in making racing car engines into assembling parts for hospital respirators and ventilators.

Originally reported by Italian newspaper – Corriere della Sera – the plans include the Ferrari plant in Maranello being used to help Italy increase the production of assisted-breathing equipment to help double production of respirators and ventilators to 200 per week.


2. Ineos delivers on 10 days promise and begins UK production of 1 million bottles of hand sanitiser per month

One of the world’s largest manufacturing companies announced yesterday that it has hit its 10-day target to build a hand sanitiser plant near Middlesbrough. 

Having already started production the aim is to produce 1 million hand sanitisers per month.

The bottles will be made to World Health Organisation specifications, as the UK and Europe have been met with a critical shortage as demand continues to soar. 

Founder and chairman of INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, says: “Now that production of the INEOS hand sanitiser has started, we are working on the fastest way to get them to where they need to be. I am confident that within a few days our sanitiser will start to be seen in hospitals, surgeries and people’s homes”. 


3. Burberry transforms its Yorkshire trench coat factory to make surgical gowns and masks 

On Tuesday, Burberry announced it would be dedicating its resources to support those impacted by the COVID-19 and to prevent further infection.

The luxury brand will be using its extensive global supply chain to fast track the delivery of over 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS. 


The company will also be re-establishing its trench coat factory in Yorkshire to make non-surgical gowns and masks for patients in accordance with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. 


4. London-based beer giant Labatt pledged to make 50,000 bottles of hand sanitiser 

Labatt Breweries announced on Sunday that it will be adding hand sanitiser to its production lines in London, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. 

The bottles produced will be donated to employees, health-care workers, bars and restaurants offering takeout and food banks across the country.

The announcement comes a day after Premier Doug Ford urged businesses in the Ontario Provence of Canada to help make the desperately needed medical supplies needed to tackle the virus such as gloves, swabs and ventilators.

5. Dyson & Gtech answer UK call for ventilator design and production

Dyson & Gtech are working on ventilator hardware, leveraging their experience building vacuums and other motor-driven airflow gadgets to develop a new design that can be validated and produced as quickly as possible. 

Working in cooperation with The Technology Partnership on a new ventilator design called the CoVent, the main advantage of the design is that high volumes can be produced quickly. 


According to an internal email from founder James Dyson to Dyson employees, the design leverages Dyson’s existing Digital Motor design as well as the company’s air purification products to deliver safe and consistent ventilation to help COVID-19 patients.

6. Zara will have donated around 300,000 surgical masks by the end of this week

Zara owner the Inditex fashion group announced that its factories and logistics team will now be creating and donating surgical face masks for medical workers and COVID-19 patients.

As well as that Inditex will also be writing off €287 million of its inventories which has caused the group to temporarily close half its shops.


In a press release, the company shared that they have “already donated 10,000 protective face masks and by the end of this week expects to be in a position to ship another 300,000 surgical masks”.

7. The ExCel centre has been turned in to a field hospital with 4,000 beds

From the outside there isn’t much to suggest that the Excel building is now the world’s largest critical care facility. 

Once inside the reality is staggering. 

Only two weeks ago, the first plans were drawn up to re-purpose this giant conference into a specialist COVID-19 field hospital called the NHS Nightingale. 

As you walk in, you will see all of the fast-food stands have been closed apart from for Costa Coffee which will reopen next week as a pharmacy. 

Only very sick COVID-19 patients will be brought here for treatment.