Ford is joining the private sector’s fight against the coronavirus by working with mask and ventilator manufacturers to begin producing personal protective equipment for health care workers.
The auto company announced Tuesday it would begin a collaboration with 3M to produce a powered air-purifying respirator mask for health workers and others who are at risk of coming into contact with the virus.
The new PAPR mask will be fabricated using parts from both Ford and 3M. Air will be drawn in through a tube connected to a pump with a filter and circulated by fans that are used in the ventilated seats of F-150 pickups.
Ford also will use its vast production potential to help 3M increase production of its N95 masks, CNN reported.
The automaker will also work with GE Healthcare to help ramp up production of ventilators, but the company did not announce in what capacity it would work with GE.
“Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.
“We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs,” Hackett added.
Ford executive chairman Bill Ford told Fox News on Tuesday, “We are going like hell, yes we are.”
“We’re testing face shields this week in Detroit-area hospitals to make sure they work and then we can ramp up pretty quickly,” he said.
CNN reported Ford will be using its 3-D printers to fabricate disposable masks for respirators once it gains approval to do so.
The company could initially produce 1,000 of the disposable masks per month with plans to increase production over time.
Ford is not the only automaker joining the effort to help combat COVID-19.
President Donald Trump announced Sunday that General Motors and Tesla had been approved to produce ventilators.
“Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST!” he tweeted.
“Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?” Trump added.
Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are? @RepMarkMeadows @GOPLeader @senatemajldr
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2020
General Motors announced it would help ventilator manufacturer Ventec increase its production by allowing the company to use its manufacturing and logistics expertise and infrastructure.
“GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation’s coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” GM said in a statement.
“Ventec will leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more of their critically important ventilators. To support these efforts, StopTheSpread.org will continue to unite business leaders across the country to collect resources to complement and support government efforts,” the company added.
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