The Ford F-150 has joined the coronavirus fight.
Ford is helping 3M redesign the powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) that it makes for first responders and health care workers to protect them from contracting the virus while treating patients.
The new device incorporates a fan normally used to for ventilated F-150 seats, 3M HEPA filters and power tool batteries for portability. Ford is looking into the feasibility of manufacturing them at an initial rate of 1,000 units per month at the Advanced Manufacturing Center, where it currently 3D-prints brake parts for the Mustang Shelby GT500, with plans to quickly expand production beyond that number.
Ford is also working with GE Healthcare to engineer a simplified version of its much-needed ventilator that it said could potentially be built at a Ford facility.
In the meantime, Ford has started producing transparent face shields to protect health care workers from bodily fluids and expects to be manufacturing them at a rate of 100,000 per week by next week.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford told “Today,” “We’re doing it on our own. Obviously the White House has put a call out for companies to help but, frankly, we were doing this, getting all this in motion before that. We’re so happy to help and we’re going to do absolutely everything we can…We haven’t talked to anybody about any kind of reimbursement or anything like that.”