As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause an upheaval worldwide, many carmakers have hopped into action by producing medical and personal protection equipments (PPE) for the front liners in the fight against the virus.
One of these carmakers is Ford, whom in addition to current production of more than 3 million face shields, announced today that it will begin making face masks and medical gown, with the latter produced using repurposed material used to make airbags.
The Detroit-based carmaker collaborated with Beaumont Health hospital in Detroit and supplier Joyson Safety Systems to rapidly prototype the ingenious medical gown. The gowns are fully tested to meet the US federal standards, and are washable up to 50 times.
Ford aims to produce 75,000 gowns a week by this Sunday, and scaling up to 100,000 gowns per week by April 19. The company aims to produce a total of 1.3 million gowns by July 4. As of now, more than 5,000 gowns have already been delivered to the Beaumont Health hospital.
Meanwhile at the company’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant, the facility’s ISO Class 8 cleanroom has been repurposed to manufacture face masks. Currently made for Ford’s internal use globally, the brand is currently pursuing certification for medical use.
Aside from those, Ford has also partnered with Thermo Fisher Scientific to produce plastic vials for COVID-19 test collections. Face shields are also being produced globally at the company’s facilities in Canada, Thailand, and India with partner Mahindra.
The previously-reported powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), dubbed Project Apollo, will begin production today in Michigan, where it aims to produce 100,000 or more units.
The Model A-E ventilator built in collaboration with 3M has also received an order of 15,000 from the UK government, where it will be produced at the Dagenham engine plant in London. This is in addition to the 50,000 units to be produced by June 4 at its Rawsonville plant in Michigan US.
Ford Vice President of Enterprise Product Line Management, Jim Baumbick said, “We knew that to play our part helping combat coronavirus, we had to go like hell and join forces with experts like 3M to expand production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.
“In just three weeks under Project Apollo, we’ve unleashed our world-class manufacturing, purchasing and design talent to get scrappy and start making personal protection equipment and help increase the availability and production of ventilators,” he added.