Ford Motor Co. is teaming up with both 3M and GE Healthcare to increase production of the respirators and ventilators desperately needed to save victims of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
- Ford will help both companies to increase production at their own plants.
- The automaker also will add production at its own facilities, if needed.
- Ford CEO Jim Hackett said production of ventilators alone could reach the “hundreds of thousands” by June.
Some of the nation’s leading automakers have signed up for the war on the coronavirus. For its part, Ford will team up with 3M, one of the country’s largest producers of respirators, as well as GE Healthcare, a leading provider of ventilators. Both devices are in desperately short supply as the number of cases of COVID-19 grows by the day. The disease can lead to pneumonia and other pulmonary problems, and victims can die quickly without the use of these devices.
Bill Ford announced plans to help increase production of respirators and ventilators on the Today Show. (Image: Screengrab from NBC.com)
“We were the arsenal of democracy during two world wars,” Chairman Bill Ford said during an appearance on the Today Show. “We built iron lungs for polio patients. Whenever we’re called on, we’re there.”
Ford will work with 3M to boost its existing production capacity. Ford also will set up a makeshift operation of its own to produce a simplified respirator design at its advanced manufacturing center in Redford, Michigan.
As part of what it has dubbed “Project Apollo,” Ford also will help boost GE’s ventilator production capacity and may add production at its own sites. In a separate appearance on CBC This Morning, CEO Jim Hackett said the goal is to ramp up production to the “hundreds of thousands” by June.
Ford has also begun producing much-needed masks for doctors, nurses and other first responders.
A 3M respirator. Respirators serve more critical duty than conventional medical masks.
The automaker isn’t alone. GM, FCA and Tesla also are working to increase production or find other sources for masks, ventilators and other medical supplies.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Covid-19 cases are increasing by an exponential rate, and hospitals across the country are suffering from a critical shortage of essential medical gear that Ford and other automakers hope to address by leveraging their manufacturing know-how.