Ford continues to help the health organisations with equipment vital for saving lifes. In addition to the current production of more than 3 million face shields in Plymouth, Mich., Ford-designed powered air-purifying respirator production begins Tuesday, April 14. Ford also is now producing face masks and leading an effort to scale production of reusable gowns for health care workers.

Lastly, Ford started providing manufacturing expertise to help scientific instrument provider Thermo Fisher Scientific quickly expand production of COVID-19 collection kits to test for the virus.

Since late March, Ford manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain experts have been embedded at 3M manufacturing facilities to help increase production of urgently needed products.

With this additional help, 3M and Ford were able to increase the output of PAPRs and N95 respirators at 3M’s U.S.-based manufacturing facilities.

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Ford will start producing an all-new PAPR design to help protect health care professionals on the front lines fighting COVID-19. Rapidly designing components and prototyping in accordance with federal guidelines and with 3M expert support and guidance, Ford teams reduced PAPR development time to less than four weeks.

Approximately 90 paid UAW volunteers will assemble PAPRs at Ford’s Vreeland facility near Flat Rock, Mich., with the ability to make 100,000 or more.

The newly designed PAPR includes a hood and face shield to cover health care professionals’ heads and shoulders, while a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter system provides a supply of filtered air for up to 8 hours. The air blower system – similar to the fan found in F-150’s ventilated seats – is powered by a rechargeable, portable battery, helping keep the respirator in constant use by first-line defenders.

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Meanwhile, Ford is now manufacturing face masks for internal use globally and pursuing certification for medical use at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant. Face masks can help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

The CDC is now encouraging all U.S. residents to use masks to curb the spread of the virus.

To help further protect health care workers, Ford is leading efforts to manufacture reusable gowns with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems. The go-fast project has created re-usable gowns manufactured from material used to make airbags in Ford vehicles.

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Production of gowns will reach 75,000 gowns a week by Sunday and scale up to 100,000 gowns for the week of April 19 and beyond. By July 4, Ford-supplier Joyson Safety Systems will cut and sew 1.3 million gowns, which are self-tested to federal standards and are washable up to 50 times.

Ford worked with Beaumont Health in Metro Detroit to quickly design the gown pattern and test for sizing during fit and function trials. More than 5,000 gowns have already been delivered to the hospital.