Partnerships will speed respirator, ventilator production.
Today Ford announced it is partnering with 3M and GE Healthcare to help produce medical equipment needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The goal is to help the companies increase the production of ventilators and respirators – Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs). Ford is also working with the United Auto Workers Union to begin assembling more than 100,000 plastic face shields per week, too. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said this is a critical time for the U.S. and the world, adding that it's time for "action and cooperation."
The first 1,000 face shields will enter service this week at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospitals with roughly 75,000 face shields expected to be produced this week. Then the automaker and the UAW workers will be producing more than 100,000 shields a week at Troy Design and Manufacturing facilities in Plymouth, Michigan, a Ford subsidiary.
The Big 3 Step Up To Help:
- GM's 'Project V' Could Build Ventilators For Coronavirus Victims
- FCA To Produce 1 Million Face Masks A Month For Coronavirus Responders
Ford and 3M are exploring a new design for PAPRs, using existing parts from both companies. One new design combines seat cooling fans from the F-150, 3M HEPA air filters, portable tool battery packs, and paint shop hoods. The automaker is looking at how it could produce the new PARPs at one of its manufacturing facilities. Ford is also working with GE Healthcare to expand production of a simplified version of the healthcare company's existing ventilators. These could also be built at a Ford manufacturing facility.
Ford is leveraging its Advanced Manufacturing Center along with its in-house 3D-printing capabilities in the push to produce more personal protective equipment for front-line medical workers, first responders, store clerks, and more. Ford also launched an initiative to assist hospitals in locating surgical and N95 respirators. The automaker has also committed to sending Henry Ford Health Systems 40,000 surgical masks, too.