General Motors (GM -1.24%) has ordered 377 thermal cameras from FLIR Systems Inc. (FLIR) to utilize across 72 locations to screen employees for fevers, according to a Reuters report Thursday. This comes as GM has announced plans to restart the majority of its North American manufacturing plants on May 18, 2020.
In its first-quarter earnings conference call earlier this week, FLIR president and CEO James J. Cannon said the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased demand for its Elevated Skin Temperature (EST) cameras. Cannon said that the company booked $100 million worth of EST-related product in the first quarter. "Many companies are looking to install this technology in their facilities in anticipation of lifting the shelter-in-place orders and as the global economy shifts to plans for reopening business," said Cannon.
When it reopens in the United States, GM will use safety protocols it has learned from operating some its plants in Asia that have restarted production, as well as its Kokomo, Indiana plant that has been producing ventilators.
Jeffery Hess, GM's corporate medical director, explained that the process for employees entering the factory floor will include hand sanitizing, wearing masks and goggles, answering wellness questions, and undergoing a temperature check, according to the Reuters report. He also said that any skin temperature results above 100 degrees Fahrenheit would then be retested using medical-grade thermometers.
The surge in COVID-19 related demand for FLIR's EST cameras has come from numerous industries beyond manufacturing, including hospitality, transportation, and others.