Earlier today, Ford announced that they would be partnering with 3M and GE Healthcare in order to produce respirators and ventilators at one of its Michigan factories.
The news comes after a massive shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) was announced due to the coronavirus pandemic that’s been spreading across the globe over the last few weeks.
Ford says the respirator they’re looking to put into production with 3M is a new powered air-purifying design. They also are looking to help ramp up production of 3M’s current respirator device.
“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 in the company’s announcement. “We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs.”
Ford is also working to improve the safety of their own employees by working with the United Auto Workers Union to assemble clear plastic face shields that would prevent the spread of infectious bodily fluids.
Ford is using 3D printers to make some of the components of these products, such as disposable air-filtering face masks. Once approved, they will initially be able to produce 1,000 masks a month but hope to increase production numbers soon after that.
We will continue to keep you updated on this story and their ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.