COVID-19 continues to pose challenges for countries around the world and Malaysia is no different. The country is known for its high density of knowledge-based industries and adoption of cutting-edge technologies for manufacturing which is fast making it an export-oriented economy. When the number of daily COVID cases were increasing exponentially, Malaysian government had to enforce strict guidelines for the citizens which made wearing masks mandatory. The government also encouraged school students of 12 years and below to wear face shields in place of face masks to reduce the burden on single-use disposable masks. Even with all the rising manufacturing prowess, the country was struggling to keep up with the demand of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits which meant that the business community had to chip in with extra efforts to keep the equilibrium intact.
With number of notable achievements under its belt, OMRON's factory in Malaysia has stood the test of time with an able and hardworking workforce. The product range produced by the factory includes electronic components for home appliances such as relays and their parts, as well as dies. Every month, the plant produces around 12 million relay units that are shipped across the world.
Having witnessed the COVID-19 situation unfold from close quarters, the employees of the Parts Manufacturing Factory Die Engineering department felt strongly about contributing to the country's fight against COVID-19. In their everyday routine, the team is tasked to design and fabricate mold die, press die and related spare parts. The team came up with an idea to channel their technical expertise in creating face shield holders by utilizing un-used mold and recyclable poly carbonate materials from runner waste*.
*Runner waste is a channel that allows molten plastic to flow and form the desired parts but the runner will turn into the waste after we obtain the desired parts.
While coming up with an idea is one thing, execution involves thorough research, planning, and teamwork. With no prior experience of producing face shield holders and enduring deadlines of regular operations, the team had a mountain to climb. However, undertaking newer challenges is embedded in OMRON's DNA and our Principles always act as a guiding force. After thorough deliberations, the team started working on the design and prototype. A significant point of discussion was to design face shield holders that are comfortable, durable, and inexpensive. It was also decided that 3D printing will be utilized to create the prototype. Finally, after much hard work the prototype was ready, and the team tested the product with fellow colleagues to understand the practicability of the design.
After several rounds of testing and design modifications, the team was able to produce transparent face shield holders and donated around 300 of them to schools and frontline workers and another 200 to their factory colleagues who were having a tough time finding comfortable and durable face shields in the market. The die engineering department members who participated in this initiative are very proud that they were able to contribute to overcome the toughest period in the country's fight against COVID-19 by using their expertise and ingenuity. Sometimes even a small contribution can be enough to initiate a ripple effect of several positive changes and that's how we can collectively solve social issues.
The project also showcases how OMRON employees collaborated and paid homage to OMRON Principles i.e., "Innovation Driven by Social Needs", "Challenging Ourselves", and "Respect for All." This story will surely inspire many more OMRON employees to keep enhancing their skills and work towards the betterment of their societies.
OMRON will keep supporting and facilitating resources to our employees who like to take the matter in their own hands rather than waiting for someone else to do it. We strongly believe that such an attitude can help solve several social issues and contribute to a better and fulfilling living.