China’s BYD shifts gears to mask production

EV firm is now able to make five million masks and 300,000 bottles of disinfectant on a daily basis

by Dave Makichuk
China’s BYD shifts gears to mask production
Within a month, BYD was able to create 100 mask production lines. Credit: TechNode.

China’s leading new energy vehicle manufacturer BYD has joined the fight against Covid-19 in a big way.

In BYD’s Baolong industrial garden in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, more than 600 workers were packaging and examining the masks churned out from 100 production lines in a 15,000-square-meter factory, China Daily reported.

The factory was used as an electronic production area just a little over one month ago.

Many companies in China, including underwear and ship makers, have transformed their businesses to cater to the rising demand for masks, disinfectants and protective overalls, the rpeort said.

Meanwhile, BYD was under pressure to resume work, said Li Wei, with BYD’s president’s office.

“We have 250,000 employees, and if we prepare two masks for each of them, we would need 500,000 masks,” Li said. “Shenzhen has more than 20 million people, and they would need more than 40 million masks if each person needed two masks.”

Under such circumstances, BYD decided to make masks itself.

“We were in dire need of mask-making machines, but each machine usually takes 40 days to make,” Li said. “Besides, it was impossible to buy such equipment during the epidemic, so we were determined that we would make the machines by ourselves.”

The company quickly formed a research team, and drew more than 400 equipment drafts within three days. They then spent seven days turning the drafts into actual machines, the report said. 

For each mask-making machine, BYD took charge of 90% of the 1,300-plus components, including the gears, chains and rollers. Within a month, BYD created 100 mask production lines, the report said.

On Feb 17, BYD’s first batch of masks went offline. Each line can make 50,000 masks a day, the report said.

With the new production lines, BYD is able to make five million masks and 300,000 bottles of disinfectant on a daily basis, making the company one of the biggest mask manufacturers in the world, the report said.

Besides internal use, BYD said some of the masks are donated to frontline hospitals, public transit companies, airports and ports. 

On Sunday, BYD inked an agreement with local officials in Shenzhen, pledging to allocate 15 million masks to six designated supermarkets and pharmacies in Shenzhen. Each mask will cost no more than 2.5 yuan (36 cents).

Masks will also be provided to other countries hit hard by the virus, after meeting domestic demand, the report said.