Honeywell is an American publicly traded conglomerate based in North Carolina, that primarily operates in four areas; aerospace, building technologies, performance materials, alongside safety and productivity solutions. As COVID-19 continued to spread around the globe throughout February 2020, the United Arab Emirates government approached Honeywell to partner with and manufacture good quality masks domestically for distribution, in particular, N95 masks.
Created and produced in the UAE, these masks would be the first of its kind in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. At the time this was reported, on May 19th 2020, the UAE had confirmed 24,190 cases of Coronavirus and 224 deaths.
Mubadala, the sovereign state fund based in Abu Dhabi, had strategically collaborated with Honeywell through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Strata. This subsidiary was formed in 2009 with the purpose of meeting the demands of the evolving aerospace industry. Although this was primarily the subsidiary’s role, the manufacturer had re-tooled some of its operational facilities and prepared its staff to support the UAE's national efforts in fighting COVID-19. This collaboration was part of Mubadala’s #WeAreDedicated campaign. This was an initiative launched alongside the UAE government and the international community, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the local and international communities. With Honeywell’s support, they manufactured N95 masks in a 3,500 square metre facility, allowing the manufacturers to work quickly and efficiently, ultimately resulting in the UAE producing more PPE products than necessary.
“As a global leader in advanced worker safety technologies, Honeywell is committed to ensuring that PPE products are being placed quickly and cost-effectively in the hands of those most in need, including medical professionals and those on the front lines of the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Mubadala has world-class manufacturing capabilities through its Strata subsidiary, and we are proud to extend the long-standing, valued partnership between our companies to bring high-quality respiratory manufacturing to the Middle East.”
As COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, the use of N95 masks in various industries is vital. N95 masks are protective tools designed purely for air filtration and a close facial fit, as specified by the FDA. These are used for those working in construction or industrial sites but, more importantly during the pandemic, for those working in health care settings - protecting both patients and medical professionals from contracting the virus.
The collaboration between the two organisations addressed the need for PPE throughout the UAE, which was a significant challenge for several other nations throughout this year who had limited domestic production. Prior to this agreement, the UAE had imported all N95 masks from abroad. The manufacturing line this created domestically had fulfilled the national requirements of the nation’s health industry, creating an annual production capacity of 30 million masks and, in turn, had transformed the UAE into an exporter of these products. On July 28th 2020, the Abu Dhabi facility was able to create a million N95 masks to be distributed.
As a supply chain partner, OCI collaborated with Honeywell to establish an ongoing commitment and allocation to supply the US and other nations with various N95 masks. OCI is committed to utilising its logistics and financial infrastructure to support the distribution of these vital PPE items.
“OCI is proud to be Distributing products manufactured by Strata - Honeywell, to deliver a range of PPE products to our partners globally, to both private and public entities. We recognise the importance of these products in the fight against COVID-19 and look forward to delivering more of these items to our clients globally.”
Oliver Chapman, CEO.
Alongside their work within the UAE, Honeywell had also increased domestic production of PPE within the UK. This had resulted in a production line of 4.5 million disposable face masks per month and the creation of 450 jobs at a time where unemployment was at its highest in the UK since 1971. Honeywell was committed to supplying 70 million face masks to the UK government over an 18-month time frame further strengthening the UK’s response to the outbreak.
"These 70 million masks are the result of our challenge to UK industry to scale-up domestic PPE manufacturing,”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, UK Government.
Overall, Honeywell’s collaboration with Mubadala allowed for both companies to increase their individual portfolios, with Mubadala’s already extensive portfolio covering 50 countries, as well as aid the international community with the requirement for masks and other PPE products.
As of now, Honeywell continues to collaborate with other companies globally in order to produce N95 masks and other PPE products, meeting the needs of both private organisations and frontline health care workers. Alongside this, OCI continues to partner with Strata Honeywell, using our expertise in sourcing, logistics and flexible financing to support distribution.