Coronavirus update: Ford joins GE & 3M to speed up production of ventilators and respirators

By autoX Editorial | on March 25, 2020

Ford Motor Company has joined forces with 3M and GE healthcare to ramp up the production of respirators and ventilators to tackle the Coronavirus crisis in the US. 

Ford Motor Company is doing its bit to help the world tackle the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The American auto giant has decided to join forces with 3M and GE Healthcare, and it’ll be lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise to help expand the production of ventilators, respirators, and face shields.

Ford says that the medical equipment will be supplied to healthcare workers, first responders, and patients of coronavirus. However, the company also plans to assemble over 100,000 face shields per week at its in-house 3D printing facility to produce components for personal usage.

To produce powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), Ford is working with 3M to jointly develop a new design, using parts from both the companies, as well as to increase the production of PAPRs through their manufacturing units, so as to meet the increasing demands. Interestingly, Ford and 3M are trying to resource off-the-shelf Ford parts, such as using fans from the F150 pickup truck’s cooled seats for airflow. In addition to this, they’re using 3M’s HEPA air-filters to filter contaminants and portable tool battery packs to power these respirators for up to eight hours. Ford plans to produce the new PAPRs in one of its facilities in Michigan and is looking at boosting 3M’s production by over 10 times!

With GE Healthcare, Ford plans to expand the production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design in order to give life support to COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory failure or having difficulty in breathing.

The face shields, which Ford is working on, will fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids, claims the company. When this shield is paired with N95 respirators, it’ll be a more effective combination to limit exposure to Coronavirus, says Ford. The first 1,000 units will be tested at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospitals.

This is not the first time that Ford is helping the authorities fight Coronavirus. In China, the company, along with Jiangling Motors, donated 10 Transit ambulance vans to hospitals in Wuhan, which is where the coronavirus outbreak began. The company will also be reacquiring 165,000 N95 respirators from China, which were sent by Ford to China earlier this year to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Also read, 

Coronavirus update: Car and bike makers halt production  

Coronavirus update: Government approves additional excise duty of up to Rs. 8 per litre on fuel

Tags: Ford 3M

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