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Top Glove makes automation push amid pandemic labor shortage

Travel restrictions and infection risks test limits of relying migrant workers

Top Glove is looking to increase annual output capacity to 140 billion gloves by 2026, up from 78.7 billion units. (Photo courtesy of Top Glove)

SINGAPORE -- Malaysia-based Top Glove, the world's leading producer of rubber surgical gloves, will invest 3 billion ringgit ($700 million) to modernize its production facilities in a bid to reduce the dependency on migrant workers.

Top Glove workers churn out 16,000 gloves per capita each day. But the company is having trouble keeping up with demand even at full capacity. The lead time on deliveries on synthetic nitrile rubber gloves is now stretched to 420 days.

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