How Ford Will Use F-150 Seat Fans to Build Emergency Respirators

Grant Boone
March 25, 2020

The automaker will work with 3M Co.to accelerate production of the respirators and have United Auto Workers members assemble more than 100,000 plastic face shields a week, according to a statement Tuesday.

Ford said its partnerships were code-named "Project Apollo" after the Apollo 13 launch in 1970 when a lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank failed two days into the mission, forcing the astronauts to improvise a fix.

In a statement, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said "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". These ventilators, which deliver air to COVID-19 patients in respiratory distress, could be produced at a Ford manufacturing site in addition to a GE location.

The company said it was exploring how it could produce these new respirators in one of its MI manufacturing plants and help 3M boost production tenfold. As part of the effort, they're working to jointly develop a new respirator that uses parts from both firms.

Ford Motor Co. announced March 24 it would be joining other major USA manufacturers to produce thousands of much-needed ventilators and other equipment needed for critically ill patients, in response to President Donald Trump's call for companies to repurpose some of their production capacity to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are going like hell, yes we are", Ford told "Fox & Friends".

Ford also is evaluating a separate effort not involving GE with the British government to make additional ventilators.

The latest are Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles which have announced plans to begin producing lifesaving medical equipment.

Pres. Trump Hopes To Re-Open The Economy By Easter
"I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter". We lose much more than that to automobile accidents.

"We're doing it on our own", Ford continued.

"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.

Meanwhile, Ford's USA design team also is quickly creating and starting to test transparent full-face shields for medical workers and first responders.

FCA said it would manufacture and donate more than 1 million protective face masks per month to police, EMTs and firefighters as well as workers in hospitals and health care clinics.

Bill Ford said the company started the collaborations with 3M and GE before the White House asked American companies to help produce medical supplies.

Ford is also helping hospitals to locate and acquire surgical and N95 masks which are in short supply.

The companies are still working out the details on how they will work together in response to needs exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Automakers would have to establish safety protocols to make sure the workers coming back to the production line are healthy and provided with the appropriate masks, shields and other equipment needed to perform the job with zero risk of infection.

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