Ford is now manufacturing face masks for internal use globally and pursuing certification for medical use its Van Dyke Transmission Plant. - Photo: Ford

Ford is now manufacturing face masks for internal use globally and pursuing certification for medical use its Van Dyke Transmission Plant.

Photo: Ford

Ford is expanding its efforts to design and produce urgently needed medical equipment and supplies for health care workers, first responders, and patients fighting coronavirus.

Ford will start production with 3M on an all-new air-purifying respirator (PAPR) on Tuesday, April 14 to help protect health care professionals fighting COVID-19, according to Ford. Since late March, Ford manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain experts have been embedded at 3M manufacturing facilities to help increase production of urgently needed products.

The development team expects the new respirator design will meet the pending National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) limited-use protocol to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, with approval anticipated by the end of April.

Earlier in March, Ford and 3M were able to increase the output of PAPRs and N95 respirators at 3M’s U.S.-based manufacturing facilities.

Ford also is now producing face masks and leading an effort to scale production of reusable gowns for health care workers. Production of gowns will reach 75,000 gowns a week by Sunday and scale up to 100,000 gowns for the week of April 19 and beyond.

The automaker also started providing manufacturing expertise to help scientific instrument provider Thermo Fisher Scientific quickly expand production of COVID-19 collection kits to test for the virus.

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