CNN

Ford is working with 3M and GE to make respirators and ventilators

Mar 24, 2020, 6:23 AM
An employee walks past a Ford logo in the yet-to-be-completed engine production line at a Ford fact...
An employee walks past a Ford logo in the yet-to-be-completed engine production line at a Ford factory on January 13, 2015 (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Ford announced Tuesday that it’s working with 3M and GE Healthcare to produce medical equipment and protective gear for healthcare workers to help address shortages in the fight against the coronavirus.

Healthcare workers around the country have expressed concern about difficulties in attaining enough critical supplies, such as masks, gloves and ventilators, to deal with the influx of patients suffering from the highly contagious virus.

Ford said it will work with 3M to produce a new kind of Powered Air-Purifying Respirator for healthcare workers. A PAPR has a clear mask that fits over the face. Air is drawn in through a tube connected to a pump that filters the air. The PAPR will be made using parts from both Ford and 3M, the automaker said, including fans used in the Ford F-150’s optional ventilated seats.

Ford said it is exploring the possibility of producing the device at one of its Michigan factories. 3M will also make the respirators at its own factory, Ford said.

Ford also announced that it’s working with GE Healthcare to increase production of ventilators, sophisticated air pumps needed by some critically ill coronavirus patients. It is not clear exactly how Ford will help GE to make more ventilators.

“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,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in the company’s announcement. “We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs.”

The automaker also said it will work with the United Auto Workers Union to assemble clear plastic face shields that protect people from possibly infectious bodily fluids. The Ford-designed masks are being tested at Detroit-area hospitals. They could be used by healthcare workers, but also others, such as store clerks, who must regularly deal with the public.

Ford is also using 3D printers at its Advanced Manufacturing Center to create disposable air-filtering respirator masks. Once approved, Ford said, the company could initially 1,000 masks per month but hopes to increase production as quickly as possible.

Other major US automakers have also made similar announcements.

General Motors said last Friday that it was going to work with Ventec Life Systems to help increase its production of ventilators for hospital patients. On Monday, the two companies announced that Ventec “is now planning exponentially higher ventilator production as fast as possible” as a result of the partnership.

GM said it is also looking into producing the devices at its Kokomo, Indiana, electronics assembly plant.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also said on Twitter that his company could make ventilators if needed.

Last Saturday he tweeted that he had had “a long engineering discussion with Medtronic about state-of-the-art ventilators.”

Medtronic confirmed that it has had discussions with Musk.

Musk has not given any specific timetable for producing ventilators, though, and did not say what his companies and Medtronic might do together. Tesla spokespeople did not respond to requests for more information.

“Medtronic will work with Tesla and others to try and solve this ventilator supply challenge,” a Medtronic spokeperson told CNN Business in an email. The company also did not provide any information about how Musk’s companies could help in the production of more ventilators.

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters that Musk had donated 1,000 ventilators. Musk Tweeted later that those ventilators had been purchased from China,

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also announced Monday it would produce as many as 1 million protective face masks a week that it would donate to hospitals, police and emergency personnel dealing with coronavirus patients.

All four automakers announced last week that they would temporarily shut down production of cars and SUVs at their US factories in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Additional reporting by Jackie Wattles

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Joseph Petito, father of Gabby Petito, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, September 28, 20...
Jennifer Henderson, CNN

Florida judge allows lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s parents against Brian Laundrie’s parents to proceed

A lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito's parents will move forward, a Florida judge ruled Thursday. The lawsuit is against the parents of Brian Laundrie.
2 days ago
Immigration activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26. Photo credi...
Tierney Sneed and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy.
2 days ago
Justice Stephen Breyer and President Joe Biden....
Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

Breyer makes it official: He’s leaving the Supreme Court on Thursday at noon

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Breyer said it had been his "great honor" to participate as a judge in the "effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law."
3 days ago
Image of the new summer treat: Ketchup-flavored popsicles (Photo courtesy of French's)...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

The newest, weirdest summer treat is a ketchup-flavored popsicle

A Canadian ketchup brand has launched an unusual twist on a popular summer treat: Ketchup-flavored popsicles.
5 days ago
...
Tim Lister, Julia Kesaieva, Salma Abdelaziz, Pierre Bairin and Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

Russian missiles hit Kyiv as G7 summit begins in Europe

G7 summit begins in Germany, as Russia hits Kyiv with a series of missile attacks.
6 days ago
American Airlines planes sit at gates at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlingt...
Chuck Johnston, CNN

More than 700 flights canceled Sunday

Across the United States on Sunday, more than 700 flights were canceled, according to the website FlightAware.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Ford is working with 3M and GE to make respirators and ventilators