Ford and Coronavirus: Automaker Announces Partnership With 3M, GE Healthcare

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford and coronavirus automaker announces partnership with 3m ge healthcare

A national health crisis has prompted Ford to go into the PPE (personal protective equipment) and ventilator business.

Tuesday morning, the automaker announced a joint effort with 3M, GE Healthcare, and its UAW-represented workers to bolster production of the life-saving gear — at the same time not missing an opportunity for a little self-promotion.

The effort is three-pronged: Ford intends to assemble plastic face masks, a simplified version of GE’s ventilator, and Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) at unnamed Blue Oval facilities in the U.S.

With time being of the essence, some improvisation is in order. About those PAPRs:

To go as fast as possible, the Ford and 3M teams have been resourcefully locating off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150’s cooled seats for airflow, 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants such as droplets that carry virus particles and portable tool battery packs to power these respirators for up to eight hours.

Ford’s aim is to get these masks into production in Michigan ASAP, potentially expanding 3M’s output tenfold. Face shield production is projected to hit 100,000 a week — once a trial run of an in-house design wraps up at Detroit-area hospitals this week. Less is said about the ventilators, which Ford says “could” be manufactured at a U.S. plant, in addition to the GE facility.

“We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs,” said CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. “We are focusing our efforts to help increase the supply of respirators, face shields and ventilators that can help assist health care workers, first responders, critical workers as well as those who have been infected by the virus.”

Detroit rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have also announced manufacturing efforts aimed at curbing shortages arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, timing is critical, as some U.S. locales, namely New York City, are expected to surpass ICU patient capacity this week. Ventilators will be needed for the sickest patients, and no patient gets treated if the doctors and nurses are sickened due to lack of protection.

Naturally, Ford played up its commitment to past public health efforts, as is its right. That heritage includes such 1940s efforts as building iron lungs for polio patients and incubators for premature babies.

[Image: Ford]

Comments
Join the conversation
4 of 20 comments
  • Jkross22 This might just be me, but the times that I've driven an EV, I use the brake regen paddles to quell my inner MT/control freak nature.
  • Randy in rocklin I had a 82 733 at one time. It was an awesome car. Good power and great handling. Smooth shifting and ride.
  • Jkross22 Gavin Newsom may not be aware of the fiscal problems of the state he leads, as his focus is on criticizing other states. It's actually better that he has someone shining a laser light on a map so he can stop making things worse here. Just lace his hair gel with some catnip and have him hit himself trying to get to it. Things in LA are getting so bad that even the leftists and progressives are showing up to LA city council meetings with mirrors to protest, well, everything - gas prices, the homeless pandemic, the house pricing pandemic, the crime pandemic. It shocked the City Council that their subjects dare attempt to ask for accountability. The Council president insisted that people with mirrors be escorted out, lest the council be reminded of their incompetence and hubris. That being said, there is no connection being made between the way LA subjects vote and the results it yields. Never underestimate the stupidity of the typical CA voter. The state is a basketcase but voters keep electing the same retreads every time.
  • ScarecrowRepair Too much for too little, unless you treat it strictly as a toy.
  • DedBull Mk2 Jettas are getting harder to find, especially ones that haven't been modified within an inch of their life. I grew up in an 85 GLI, and would love to have one in as close to stock configuration as I could get. This car isn't that starting point, especially sitting 3-4 years in the NY dirt. It's a parts car at best, but there might still be money in it even at that price, if you are willing to take it down to absolutely nothing left.
Next