Coronavirus: Ford working with 3M, GE to produce respirators, ventilators

Ford works with 3M GE coronavirus
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Ford is working with 3M and GE Healthcare to produce medical equipment and protective gear for healthcare workers to address shortage amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Automobile manufacturer Ford is working with 3M and GE Healthcare to make medical equipment and protective gear as healthcare workers across the US experience a shortage in supplies, including masks, gloves and ventilators.

According to Ford, it is working with 3M to create a new kind of Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) for healthcare workers, while also also assisting to boost production of 3M’s current respirator device.

The automakers said that parts from both 3M and Ford will be used to manufacture PAPR, which has a clear mask that fits over the face with air drawn in through a tube connected to a pump that filters the air.

Ford is also working with GE Healthcare to increase the manufacture of ventilators, sophisticated air pumps needed by some critically ill coronavirus patients.


In an announcement, Ford chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Hackett said: “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.”

“We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs,” Hackett added.

Ford also stated that it will be working with the United Auto Workers Union to assemble clear plastic face shields that protect people from possibly infectious bodily fluids.  Currently, the Ford-designed masks are being tested at hospitals in Detroit.

The automaker is also taking advantage of its Advanced Manufacturing Center and use the 3D printers there to create disposable air-filtering respirator masks. Once it gets approval, Ford said it could initially 1,000 masks per month but hopes to increase production as fast as they could.

Hackett mentioned: “It’s inside Ford where people remember these stories so the ideas were coming from within the company.”