Ford joins General Motor and Tesla in helping with ventilator and mask supply

  • Published | 25 March 2020
The Ford is working with GE and 3M to source more vital equipment to the medical community

On 24th March 2020, Ford has announced it’s working with 3M and General Electric to create the ventilators and masks that are currently in short supply as the world battles the unique coronavirus pandemic. The organization joins other carmakers like General Motors and Tesla in helping out the medical association after idling their automotive plants owing to the effects the epidemic is having on both consumer demand and the global supply chain.

It all occurs at a crucial time. As more people are getting infected with the coronavirus, there’s an increased need for protective equipment like masks to keep health care workers safe and ventilators to treat people with the worst symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Many places are still in short supply of both.

According to Ford, it is assisting 3M to increase the total output of powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) masks, and the two organizations are also coming up with a new design based on off-the-shelf parts to go as quick as possible. Ford added that the new model could leverage fans from its F-150 truck’s cooled seats as well as HEPA air filters and portable battery packs for power tools that are already made by 3M. The automaker says it’s still trying to figure out how and where to build these new-generation PAPRs. But Ford believes it could potentially help 3M boost production of the masks tenfold.

In addition to that, Ford is working with GE’s health care unit to figure out how to help the company make a simplified version of its ventilators. Ford added that these ventilators could be produced at a Ford manufacturing site and also at GE location. Ventilators are already in short supply and will continue to be as the virus spreads, and as more people realize, acute respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.

Ford is also making and testing new face shields to help medical professionals mitigate the risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, which can be spread by tiny droplets in a person’s cough or sneeze.

Many of the United States most recognizable companies have entered the effort to help reinforce the country’s increasingly stressed medical care system. Automakers are driving the charge in some ways by getting involved in sourcing supplies and assessing the ways to speed up the production of the most urgently needed equipment, like masks and ventilators. But turning up medical equipment manufacturing operations is likely to take a lot longer than people like President Trump have made it seem, regardless of whether he invokes the Defense Production Act.

General Motors announced that it was partnering with ventilator manufacturer Ventec Life Systems and offering the firm help with logistics, manufacturing, and purchasing issues to increase its output.

Tesla was able to buy what CEO Elon Musk said were surplus ventilators from China. The company handed more than 1,000 of them over to the state of California. Musk and Tesla also sent some 50,000 3M-made N95 surgical masks to the University of Washington’s Medical Center.

Other companies like Facebook and Apple are also donating thousands of masks to health care workers across the country.