International automotive supplier Draexlmaier Group donated 1,500 face shields to special needs and speech therapy students and teachers at Spartanburg School District Five and the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind Thursday.
Representatives from the Duncan plant presented the face shields Thursday, distributing 750 masks to each school, according to a news release. The shields were made at the manufacturer’s location in Braunau, Austria, and shipped to Duncan.
“As a part of society, the Draexlmaier Group supports the local community in many ways,” Denell Jackson, a technical planner for the German-owned supplier, said in the release. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we consider it or responsibility to help protect the ones who are particularly vulnerable against the virus.”
The face shields are critical for speech therapy and special education students who rely on facial expressions and lip movements — concealed by conventional masks — from teachers.
“This is a huge hit for us,” Sam Hook, executive director at the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind, said in the release. “The D-Shields will be of help to our students who rely on reading the lips of our faculty members during their presentations and teachings in the classroom.”
Draexlmaier used a special plastic injection molding tool, made in house, to fashion the face shields. The Austrian plant makes 1,000 face shields each day and distributes them to 60 sites across the world.
“At the Draexlmaier Group, we are using our competences in design, precision toolmaking and injection molding to support the fight against the coronavirus,” James Thomas, a technical engineer and automation supervisor for the Draexlmaier Group in Duncan, said in the release. “With our donation, we want to do our part and support those individuals and institutions that do great work for our society in these troubled times.”
Headquartered in Vilsbiburg, Germany, the Draexlmaier Group’s U.S. headquarters in Duncan manufactures interior automotive systems and oversees 13 regional production sites, according to the release.