Darius Adamczyk, CEO of Honeywell International (NASDAQ:HON), spoke at the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Monday. He provided an update on the expansion of a Rhode Island facility, which currently produces safety glasses, to add N95 masks to its production. These masks are in short supply for healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also announced a second manufacturing facility will be starting up in Phoenix, Arizona, to add even more mask output. Each facility will add 500 new employees. The Rhode Island plant has already hired 200 new workers and will begin producing N95 masks within the next two weeks.
Industrial worker to healthcare worker
Adamczyk said the new Arizona production of the masks will begin in the middle of May. The company is repurposing part of its aerospace facility that produces propulsion engines and auxiliary power units for aircraft. That production will continue along with the new mask production.
Hiring has begun for the Arizona jobs, which will allow the company to get to a production capacity of more than 20 million N95 masks per month. According to Adamczyk, this is five times greater than what Honeywell can produce today.
One of its current businesses is the manufacture of products to protect the industrial worker. Adamczyk noted that it will now pivot to repurpose some of that equipment for protecting the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. The production will be sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to supply the Strategic National Stockpile.