Ford Motor Company (Ford) joined forces with 3M and GE Healthcare and the United Auto Workers (UAW), to increase the manufacturing and engineering to quickly expand production of medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting coronavirus.
In addition, Ford issued a statement that explained the company plans to assemble more than 100,000 face shields per week and leverage its in-house 3D printing capability to produce components for use in personal protective equipment (PPE).
“This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is a time for action and cooperation. By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis,” said Bill Ford, Ford executive chairman.
Ford is with 3M to increase the manufacturing capacity of their powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) designs and is working jointly to develop a new design leveraging parts from both companies to meet the surge demand for first responders and health care workers, according to the Ford’s press release. The respirator could be produced in a Ford facility by UAW workers.
“We’re exploring all available opportunities to further expand 3M’s capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they’re needed most – which includes partnering with other great companies like Ford,” said Mike Roman, 3M board chairman and CEO.
Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing caused by COVID-19.
“We are encouraged by how quickly companies from across industries have mobilized to address the growing challenge we collectively face from COVID-19,” said GE healthcare president & CEO Kieran Murphy.
Respirators and Face Shields
Meanwhile, Ford’s U.S. design team is also creating and testing transparent full-face shields for medical workers and first responders. The company states the face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus.
The first 1,000 face shields will be tested this week. Roughly 75,000 of these shields are expected to be finished this week and more than 100,000 face shields per week will be produced.
Auto Parts Supplier Announces COVID-related Layoffs
As of Monday afternoon, there were five new companies, including Charlestown-based Mitchell Plastics. The company told the state it is implementing a temporary layoff and shutdown of its two plants, totaling 380 employees. The company is a parts supplier to Toyota Motor Manufacturing and Ford Motor Co. Both of those automakers announced last week they are suspending production at their auto assembly plants.