Ford Motor Company, GE Healthcare and 3M have started pooling their resources together to make ventilators, respirators and face shields to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“We were the arsenal of democracy during two world wars,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford explained during his appearance Tuesday on the “Today Show.” We built iron lungs for polio patients. Whenever we’re called on, we’re there.” (RELATED: LIVE UPDATES: Here’s What Every State In America Is Doing To Combat The Spread Of The Coronavirus)
“We’re going into our parts bin to see what can be done,” he added. “We’re a very opportunistic company.”(RELATED: Here’s A List Of How Every Country In The World Is Responding To Coronavirus)
Ford explained that the project known internally as “Project Apollo” involves several parts to help fight the pandemic, per AutoNews.com. (RELATED: REPORT: Coachella Potentially Rescheduled To October Due To Coronavirus Fears)
The first involves Ford working with GE on making ventilators to “dramatically increase” their capability to “deliver these in numbers,” per Ford. The second is working with 3M to make air purifiers and respirators. The executive chairman explained the goal is to increase that company’s overall production by six to ten times more than the current rate. The third is working to produce “hundreds of thousands” of face shields per week.
According to the report:
It will aid 3M in boosting production of respirator designs 3M is already producing, while simultaneously building its own respirators using a makeshift design that includes fans from F-150 pickup seats, hoods from assembly plant paint shops, 3D-printed parts and portable tool battery packs that could allow the devices to run for up to eight hours.
During a conference call, officials said they hope to get things up and going within a matter of days or weeks.
“This is such a critical time for America and the world,” Ford shared in a statement. “It is a time for action and cooperation.”
“By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis,” the statement added. “At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company.”
Other manufacturers like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Tesla have announced it will start repurposing to build medical equipment.
Jim Baumbick, vice president of Ford’s Enterprise Product Line Management team, said the company “wanted to help in any way we could in getting a range of critical protective gear in the hands of these brave men and women in the medical community fighting COVID-19 on the front line.”
“We see the need,” he added. “We just want to jump in and find a way to help.”
As previously reported, President Donald Trump recently invoked the Defense Production Act in order to fight against the pandemic, “just in case we need it.” The Cold War-era measure gives the president powers to pressure companies to produce goods tied to national defense.