DEARBORN, Michigan — This week Ford announced more details on the much anticipated production of equipment to help in the worldwide fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus. They automotive giant announced that it 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 manufacturing face masks
Ford is now manufacturing face masks for internal use globally and pursuing certification for medical use its Van Dyke Transmission Plant

In addition to the current production of more than 3 million face shields in Plymouth, Mich., Ford-designed powered air-purifying respirator production begins Tuesday, April 14. Ford also is now producing face masks and leading an effort to scale production of reusable gowns for health care workers. Lastly, Ford 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.”

Ford COVID-19 Equipment Production
Ford COVID-19 Equipment Production

In a brief statement Ford advised that they have been collaborating with experts in order to ensure all goes smoothly and efficiently. “We knew that to play our part helping combat coronavirus, we had to go like hell and join forces with experts like 3M to expand production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies, said Jim Baumbick, vice president, Ford Enterprise Product Line Management. “In just three weeks under Project Apollo, we’ve unleashed our world-class manufacturing, purchasing and design talent to get scrappy and start making personal protection equipment and help increase the availability and production of ventilators.”

New PAPRs from Ford and 3M collaboration

In record time, Ford has announced its plans (after collaboration with 3M) to produce the newly developed Powered Air-Puryfying Respirator (PAPR) with paid UAW volunteers. They will have the ability to produce 100,000 or more masks at  Ford’s Vreeland facility near Flat Rock, MI.

“Ford will start producing an all-new PAPR design to help protect health care professionals on the front lines fighting COVID-19. Rapidly designing components and prototyping in accordance with federal guidelines and with 3M expert support and guidance, Ford teams reduced PAPR development time to less than four weeks.”

The newly designed PAPR includes a hood and face shield to cover health care professionals’ heads and shoulders, while a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter system provides a supply of filtered air for up to 8 hours. The air blower system – similar to the fan found in F-150’s ventilated seats – is powered by a rechargeable, portable battery, helping keep the respirator in constant use by first-line defenders.

Face Mask Production

Ford is also manufacturing face masks for internal use globally at all of their facilities. In the meantime they are pursuing certification for medical use at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant.

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

Ford is one of many companies rallying together to help the efforts to keep all of us safe while finding safe ways for their employees to continue working and moving the economy along.

Gown Production

To further help in the efforts, Ford is leading efforts to manufacture reusable gowns with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems. The go-fast project has created re-usable gowns manufactured from material used to make airbags in Ford vehicles. How innovative! Why not use all of the existing auto-safety engineering research and re-purpose for the use on the current crisis?

Production of these much-needed 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. By July 4th, Ford-supplier Joyson Safety Systems will cut and sew 1.3 million gowns, which are self-tested to federal standards and are washable up to 50 times.

Ford worked with Beaumont Health in Metro Detroit to quickly design the gown pattern and test for sizing during fit and function trials. More than 5,000 gowns have already been delivered to the hospital.

Collection Kits for COVID-19 Tests

Lastly, Ford is helping scale production of collection kits for COVID-19 tests at Thermo Fisher Scientific. The two companies each rallied together with their areas of expertise to help setup additional collection kit production machinery. “It’s great to see different industries coming together to solve a common problem” said John Reuss, senior director, microbiology business for Thermo Fisher.

PAPR design
PAPR design

When we come together we all win

As of April 13, Ford had produced more than 3 million face shields for medical personnel and first responders. Besides the U.S., face shield production also has started globally at Ford facilities in Canada and Thailand and with Ford joint venture partner Mahindra & Mahindra in India.

Lamborghini is also another leading automotive manufacturer that has shifted production to make masks and shields.

Powered Air Purifying respirator (PAPR) by Ford and 3M
Powered Air Purifying respirator (PAPR) by Ford and 3M

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 190,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit

About 3M
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 96,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue exceeding $25 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics and therapies or increasing productivity in their laboratories, we are here to support them. Our global team of more than 75,000 colleagues delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services and Patheon. For more information, please visit



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