Manufacturing conglomerate Honeywell announced Sunday that it will immediately expand its manufacturing operations in Smithfield, RI to produce N95 face masks to aid the US government's response to COVID-19.
The Charlotte, NC-based company said it is ramping up operations to produce millions of the disposable respirators, which various health care agencies have cited a considerable shortage of amid the virus' global pandemic.
“We are honored to support the US government’s efforts to protect Americans with personal protective equipment made right here in the United States,” said Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell chairman and chief executive officer. “Our Rhode Island facility already produces industry-leading safety gear and soon will play a critical role in supplying the Strategic National Stockpile with N95 masks.”
The company said it expects the new mask production line in Smithfield will create at least 500 new jobs, and Honeywell will immediately begin recruiting, hiring and training manufacturing workers.
Once produced, the N95 masks will be delivered to the US Department of Health and Human Services to contribute to the American stockpile for use to support health, safety and emergency response workers.
The company said the production expansion will support additional American businesses that are part of the supply chain, including industrial equipment providers and raw materials suppliers. The company is also actively collaborating with state and local officials to ramp up production efforts and support recruiting and training for workers.
Honeywell’s Smithfield factory was established in 1980 and produces UVEX-branded eye protection products, which include safety glasses, safety goggles and protective face shields.