AKRON — Bridgestone Corp. is using resources at its Americas Technical Center in Akron to secure personal protective equipment for local Ohio hospitals.
Employees at the technical center are using the company's prototyping technology, Bridgestone said, and their personal 3D printers to produce reusable face shields that are being donated to local hospitals and front-line workers in Northeast Ohio.
Such shields cover a larger portion of the face than masks alone, Bridgestone said, and are made from plastic and other materials that allow for cleaning and reuse.
"Our most important priority is always the safety and well-being of our teammates, customers, fans and communities — and we're focused on that now more than ever," Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports, Bridgestone Americas, told Indycar.com, the web site of IndyCar racing.
"Just like everyone else, our teams are doing what they can to help in this fight and look forward to when we can return to racing."
Bridgestone employs 700 technicians and support staff at the $100 million Americas Technical Center, which opened in 2012.
This effort complements an initiative under way at Bridgestone's U.S. retail operations locations, which have remained open during this pandemic to serve as an essential service provider for local communities. These locations offer tires, auto repair and auto maintenance.
These retail locations have also enacted strict safety measures that go beyond enhanced cleaning and sanitization. When visiting an auto care location for essential auto service, contact-free services and curbside drop-off are available for customers.
Bridgestone Retail also has pledged to donate $840,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs across the country to support the non-profit's COVID-19 relief efforts .
The contribution — which represents the amount of customer donations collected at Bridgestone's network of 2,200+ tire and automotive service centers during the first quarter — will go to a COVID-19 relief fund set up by Boys & Girls Clubs of America to ensure club staff, youth, families and communities have the resources and support needed to navigate challenging circumstances during the ongoing global health pandemic.