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March 25, 2020

Ford is Now Making COVID-19 Medical Equipment Using Car Parts

There are COVID-19 marketing gimmicks, and then there are true signs of ingenuity. At a time when American carmakers were getting beat when it comes to car tech, they’ve shown that in a time of a crisis, they still have the engineering mojo to come up with all sorts of practical solutions.

Ford, joining forces with firms including 3M and GE Healthcare, is lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise to quickly expand production of urgently-needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders, and patients fighting the coronavirus.

Ford has come up with unique solutions that use off-the-shelf parts. To create portable respirators, they’ve used off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150’s cooled seats and paired it with 3M HEPA air filters. A portable battery pack means these respirators can run for eight hours.

In addition, Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing caused by COVID-19.

Both the F-150-based respirator and ventilators could be produced at a Ford manufacturing site.

Meanwhile, Ford’s U.S. design team also is quickly creating and starting to test transparent full-face shields for medical workers and first responders. The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

The first 1,000 face shields will be tested this week. Roughly 75,000 of these shields are expected to be finished this week, and more than 100,000 face shields per week will be produced after that.

Ford is also re-acquiring 165,000 N95 respirators from China that were originally sent by Ford to China earlier this year to help combat coronavirus.

Ford’s taking the right, concrete steps when the world needs American ingenuity and engineering the most. And yes, because of this, we’re forgiving them for the Mustang Mach-E and its shrimp cocktail carrying “frunk.”

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