When the coronavirus pandemic began, manufacturers in the automotive segment initially assumed that a few weeks of stopping production would be enough. That assumption proved to be wrong as more and more people continue to get infected worldwide. As a result, many automakers had respective announcements that their factory closures have been extended, sometimes even indefinitely.

The latest to do so is Italian supercar builder Ferrari.

Ferrari extends factory shut down, now making respirators instead image

Ferrari first announced the shutdown of its plants last March 14. At the time, the company said that both their Maranello and Modena factories are expected to resume operations by March 27. Instead, the Italian marque now says that the new opening will take place on May 3, 2020 in accordance with the Italian government’s latest announcements.

While all manufacturing and production-related activities have come to halt, the work continues on. Ferrari says, all non-manufacturing related activities will continue through what they call “smart working”, just like they have done so in the past few weeks. Though not specifically explained, this is likely a work-from-home arrangement similar to most companies around the world.

Aside from “smart working”, the Italian company also began making respirator valves and fittings to be used for respirators. The project serves as one of the automaker's initiatives to support health workers treating coronavirus patients.

Ferrari extends factory shut down, now making respirators instead image

The department which usually builds prototype cars is the one producing the respirator valves and fittings. Specifically, they make the valves and fittings using thermoplastic components with additive manufacturing technology. Each component features Ferrari's signature logo and are available in either black or white.

The new respirator valves were co-developed with Mares, a company that specializes in making recreational diving equipment. Using the newly-developed valves, Mares makes use of the components to build masks to help protect front liners.