Ford to produce ventilators, respirators with 3M, GE Healthcare in coronavirus fight

Ford teams with 3M, GE, UAW to speed production of respirators, ventilators for COVID-19 patients

Ford teams with 3M, GE, UAW to speed production of respirators, ventilators for COVID-19 patients

"We are expanding their capacity and leveraging what GE Healthcare and 3M have".

Carmaker Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Tuesday jumped into the emergency push by major US manufacturers to produce thousands of ventilators and respirators needed to help combat the spread of the coronavirus under a partnership code-named "Project Apollo".

Ford Motor Co.is throwing its design and production prowess behind two other manufacturers' efforts to build more ventilators and respirators for health care workers and first responders.

As part of the tie up with 3M, the companies are working to rapidly increase production of powered air-purifying respirators.

Ford said Tuesday that it will assemble plastic face shields as well as work with 3M and GE Healthcare on respirators and ventilators as more and more Americans test positive for coronavirus.

"We have a range of options in terms of facilities that we can leverage to build these things", Jim Baumbick, vice president of enterprise product and line management at Ford, told reporters Tuesday on a conference call.

Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all announced last week they would be shutting down their plants last week because of the coronavirus. "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".

Coronavirus US: New York hit 'like a bullet train', says Cuomo
There were more than 23,000 positive cases in NY state and 183 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Cuomo called on President Donald Trump to use the federal Defense Production Act to manufacture ventilators.

"We're doing it on our own", Ford continued.

The partnership with GE Healthcare focuses on a simplified version of the company's existing ventilator.

Additionally, Ford said its US design team, working with the United Auto Workers union, was starting to test transparent full-face shields for first responders, which when paired with N95 respirator masks, could be an effective way of limiting exposure to the coronavirus. The first 1,000 units will be tested at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace hospitals in MI. Ford also will help General Electric Co.'s health care unit boost output of ventilators hospitals desperately need for coronavirus patients. Ford has so far committed sending Henry Ford Health Systems 40,000 surgical masks while it locates additional supplies.

"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", it said in a statement released late on Monday.

"We are proud to bring our clinical and technical expertise to this collaboration with Ford, working together to serve unprecedented demand for this life-saving technology and urgently support customers as they meet patient needs".

Earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote that his company would produce ventilators if there is a shortage, saying in a separate statement that plans for production were already underway at Tesla factories.

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