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JR Automation Partners with General Motors to Deploy Medical Mask Assembly Line in Six Days


Media Relations Contact:

Lizzie Uhl
Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager
JR Automation
+ 1 616.335.7371
[email protected]  

Holland, MI March 31, 2020 – On Saturday, March 21, General Motors (GM), approached Esys Automation, a JR Automation company, to help produce face masks to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The project was aggressive, building an entire mask assembly line capable of producing 50,000 masks a day, and GM needed the equipment running in less than one week.

That afternoon, the leadership teams at Esys and JR Automation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), reviewed the request and planned next steps. Sunday at 11:00 am EDT, our team was assessing the request from GM, designing plans based on readily available parts, and releasing them for build as they went. 

By Monday, JR Automation was working across multiple fronts to implement the plan, while GM was quickly prepping the Warren, Michigan clean room for installation:

  • JR Automation’s engineering and build teams in Nashville and Holland provided input and shared their expertise on this type of system with Esys Automation
  • JR Automation’s in-house Machining & Fabrication department designed and built customized machinery to assemble the masks
  • Controls and mechanical engineering teams worked in parallel with the supply chain team throughout JR Automation to secure all components, despite many supply chains disrupted by the crisis

Builders at Esys Automation worked around the clock to assemble components, delivering the first equipment to GM Friday morning. At 2:30 pm EDT on Friday, March 27, GM produced their first mask in response to the COVID-19 crisis using the line that JR Automation built in six days.

JR Automation is truly honored to partner with customers like General Motors to help combat this pandemic and support our dedicated medical workers on the front lines every day. With the best customers, automation services, and talent in the world, we can and will continue to push innovation forward, no matter the need.  Other teams across JR Automation are already gearing up to provide automation solutions for other essential items in response to this crisis. 

About JR Automation

Established in 1980, JR Automation is a leading provider of intelligent automated manufacturing and technology solutions that solve customers’ key operational and productivity challenges. JR Automation serves customers across the globe in a variety of industries, including automotive, life sciences, aerospace, and more.

In 2019, JR Automation was acquired by Hitachi, Ltd. In a strategic effort towards offering a seamless connection between the physical and cyber space for industrial manufacturers and distributers worldwide. With this partnership, JR Automation provides customers a unique, single-source solution for complete integration of their physical assets and data information, offering greater speed, flexibility, and efficiencies towards achieving their Industry 4.0 visions. JR Automation employs over 2,000 people at 23 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Visit for more information.


About Esys Automation

Esys Automation, a JR Automation company, is a leading full-service automation solutions provider, specializing in vehicle assembly applications in areas such as press, powertrain, plastics, body assembly, paint, sealer, final assembly, and tire & wheel. Located in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Esys Automation delivers sophisticated automation systems to customers around the world. Visit for more information.


About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is focusing on Social Innovation Business combining its operational technology, information technology and products. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2018 (ended March 31, 2019) totaled 9,480.6 billion yen ($85.4 billion), and the company has approximately 296,000 employees worldwide. Hitachi delivers digital solutions utilizing Lumada in five sectors including Mobility, Smart Life, Industry, Energy and IT, to increase our customer’s social, environmental and economic value. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s website at

For additional information, contact Lizzie Uhl at +1 616.335.7371. 



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JR Automation provides intelligent automated manufacturing and distribution technology solutions. We transform how the world's leading manufacturers make and distribute products.


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