Both Ford and Fiat Chrysler have stepped up to help healthcare workers, first responders and Coronavirus patients by producing ventilators, respirators and face masks.
Ford Motor Company has joined forces with 3M and GE Healthcare to lend manufacturing and engineering expertise to expand production of medical equipment and supplies. In particular, Ford plans to assemble more than 100,000 face shields per week. As well, Ford is working with 3M to increase the manufacturing capacity of their powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) designs and working jointly to develop a new design to meet the surge in demand from first responders and healthcare workers. According to Ford, this new respirator could be produced in a Ford facility by UAW workers.
“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,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO. “We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs. We are focusing our efforts to help increase the supply of respirators, face shields and ventilators that can help assist health care workers, first responders, critical workers as well as those who have been infected by the virus.”
“We’re exploring all available opportunities to further expand 3M’s capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they’re needed most – which includes partnering with other great companies like Ford,” said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “It’s crucial that we mobilize all resources to protect lives and defeat this disease, and I’m incredibly grateful to Ford and their employees for this partnership.”
Ford and GE Healthcare are also working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design for patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing caused by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler says it will be manufacturing and donating more than 1 million protective face masks per month.
“Production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks with initial distribution across the United States, Canada and Mexico,” Fiat Chrysler says in a release.
The face masks will be donated by FCA to police, EMTs, firefighters, and workers in hospitals and health care clinics.
“Protecting our first responders and health care workers has never been more important. In addition to the support we are giving to increase the production of ventilators, we canvassed our contacts across the healthcare industry and it was very clear that there is an urgent and critical need for face masks,” FCA CEO Mike Manley said. “We’ve marshalled the resources of the FCA Group to focus immediately on installing production capacity for making masks and supporting those most in need on the front line of this pandemic.”