CHICAGO (CBS) — Ford is working with 3M, Chicago-based GE Healthcare, and the United Auto Workers to manufacture various medical equipment needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The automaker is teaming up with 3M to create a new design of powered air-purifying respirator, using parts from both companies. The respirators currently are being produced at 3M, but Ford is exploring production at one of its facilities as well.
Ford also is cooperating with GE Healthcare to expand production of GE’s existing ventilator design, to help meet increased demand for treatment of COVID-19 patients who are suffering respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.
Workers with the UAW also will work with Ford to assemble more than 100,000 face shields per week at the company’s manufacturing site in Michigan. The face shields will be supplied to medical professionals, factory workers, and store clerks who are working through the coronavirus outbreak. Ford also will use its 3D printing capability to make disposable respirators for healthcare workers.
“This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is a time for action and cooperation. By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis,” Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company.”