As we face the coronavirus, a primary concern for citizens, officials, and healthcare workers is a shortage of supplies to treat large numbers of patients. Now, Ford is shifting its production lines from vehicles to ventilators and using its manufacturing sites to produce critical medical supplies.
Ford is partnering with 3M and GE Healthcare to use its manpower and 3D printing capabilities to produce supplies. Engineers worked with Ford’s current materials to create a model for purifying respirators (PAPRs) that could be produced in their facilities. Using available components such as 3M HEPA filters and portable tool batteries, they have created a viable respirator design and their production has helped increase 3M’s production capacity by tenfold.
Ford is also designing protective face shields, which are used in conjunction with N95 respirators to protect the eyes and face from contact with liquids. After perfecting the design, Ford plans to increase manufacturing to 100,000 shields per week.
Other projects include the creation of a ventilator that could be produced in their facilities and the production of parts and components that can go into building more complex medical equipment elsewhere.
Both General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have announced plans to take up similar production shifts this week as well. The equipment will go to the police, EMTs, firefighters, and hospital and clinic workers in the US, Canada, and Mexico who are working every day to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This collaboration between the car and medical supply industry is a great solution for meeting the rising needs of the medical community to protect our communities and helps boost economic industries that would otherwise be out of work in this difficult time.