Ford Motor Company is currently making masks and face shields at an incredible rate, at 100,000 per week. Soon, Ford will produce face masks, face shields, PAPR full head respirators, and gowns across multiple factories. And, as is the case with the Ford F-150 pickup truck, the Ford Bronco has a connection, as well.
Ford is ready to make their PAPR respirators in their Flat Rock Michigan Mustang Plant. Once the design is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 90 paid volunteers will produce around 100,000 units. This new respirator uses the ventilated seat blower from the F-150, which helped speed up production of medical supplies, as Ford used off-the-shelf parts. And when it comes to airbags, Ford will be producing gowns with their supplier, Joysen Safety Systems. As a result, Ford Bronco airbags will use the same material as the gowns. But this product sharing may have its drawbacks.
Ford was, and is, set for some massive product launches this year. The new Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport would have been revealed back in March, but Coronavirus pushed it back. In addition, the next generation F-150 is coming this year. By shutting down production and using supplies intended for vehicles in medical supplies instead, one might think this will impact vehicle production when it eventually begins, as it could mean parts shortages.
Quite the opposite. In an interview with Motor Trend, Ford said that everything is under control, and officials claim they’ve balanced medical supply and vehicle production. We don’t know for sure how well production will restart, but producing medical supplies has certainly affected when it will start. Surprisingly, the Mustang Mach-E production is still on track for the original September start. The EV sold out for the 2020 year, so that’s a very hopeful claim. However, Ford has delayed Bronco and F-150 reveals, as well as production, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ford’s efforts to fight Coronavirus are nothing short of impressive, as there is an incredible breadth of supplies they will be or are making. They started with the face shields in late March, making 100,000 per week. Now, Ford is currently making face masks and the gowns (with supplier Joysen) that share material with airbags. Ford will begin producing the PAPR respirators, as soon as they get approved. They’ve even deployed engineers to develop plastic testing vials. Finally, Ford has partnered with Wayne State University in heavily infected Detroit, Michigan to provide vehicles for mobile testing units. Ford provided much of the equipment WSU personnel need to carry out up to 100 test per day, per unit. Nationwide, social distancing efforts have helped slow the spread, and Ford’s contributions will certainly do the same.