One of the biggest struggles in the fight against Coronavirus is the lack of medical supplies. Doctors don’t have enough masks, and there aren’t enough respirators or ventilators. To help combat the massive shortage, Ford has partnered with two other iconic American companies to created medical supplies. For example, Ford Motor Company is co-developing powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) with Minnesota’s 3M. PAPRs increase safety because they cover the whole head while providing powered air filtration. And as we mentioned yesterday, a ventilator fan straight out of the Ford F-150 will power the airflow. Check out its design below.
The PAPR works by pulling air through a 3M HEPA grade filter into the helmet. And the Ford F-150 ventilated seat blower is perfect for this application. Foremost, the main HVAC blower is said to be excessively powerful and too large for this applications, per Road & Track. However, the seat ventilator blower from upper-level Ford F-150 trim levels strikes the perfect balance of size, power and efficiency. In a car, these ventilators only draw 12 V of power, allowing them to be run off a battery pack. Ford says the battery is sourced from power tools. This will allow for 8 hours of continuous use. PAPRs give more protection because they filter the air medical staff are breathing. Coronavirus may be able to travel in liquid particles through the air, and the PAPRs help block them.
Currently, Ford is producing face mask shields in their Redford, Michigan plant. They are designed to be used with N95 masks to provide additional coverage. This is especially helpful around the eyes. Right now, the first 1,000 shields are being tested at Detroit area hospitals. If all goes well, Ford will ship 75,000 of them across the nation. Ford has production capabilities to make 100,000 per week. Ford could shift some of its shield production to ventilators in its factories.
In addition, Ford is working with GE Healthcare to explore making ventilators. They are looking to expand production by introducing a simplified version of GE’s ventilator. By using off the shelf parts, like with the respirators, Ford could help get more machines to hospitals. Ford said they could make medical supplies in the U.K. too.
The Coronavirus pandemic has seen Ford go through drastic changes. First, Ford halted production of its cars. Next, it announced a number of programs to support its customers and the community. Now, it will help fight the virus by creating different medical supplies. What matters, though, is that Ford is putting its energy and resources into helping the nation, not itself.