The automaker will work with
“We’re just going as fast as we can,”
The collaboration, which Ford dubbed “Project Apollo” after the Apollo 13 spacecraft rescue mission, will help GE and 3M scale their existing efforts to provide critical products to hospitals being taxed by the coronavirus outbreak. With shortages of ventilators, respirators and other essential equipment hampering efforts to fight the deadly pandemic, U.S. President
Bill Ford said the company started cooperating with 3M and GE before the White House asked American companies to help produce medical supplies.
“We’re doing it on our own,” he said, when asked if this was at the directive of the Trump administration. “Obviously, the White House put a call out for companies to help. But frankly, we were doing this, getting all this in motion, before that.”
Ford is joining relief efforts along with
Ford said it is coordinating with GM to avoid duplicating efforts as each company reaches out to suppliers to help boost medical device production. “We’re going into our parts bin to see what can be done,” Bill Ford said. “We’ve got great engineers and great manufacturing people and we’re putting them to work.”
In the meantime, Ford extended the
Ford will help produce a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator, which is used to help patients suffering respiratory failure or having difficulty breathing. The respiratory disease known as Covid-19 has spurred soaring demand for the equipment.
The first ventilator should be completed by early June, Ford CEO
GE already has doubled its output of ventilators in the months since the coronavirus outbreak began, and the company said it expects to double production again by the end of the second quarter, independent of the Ford partnership.
GE also offered new information online on how to use its anesthesia devices for ventilation purposes, based on guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “With a global installed base of over 100,000 devices, this update provides immediate assistance in the global demand of ventilators,” the company said.
Ford and 3M also will use parts from both companies to quickly produce air-purifying respirators. The companies said they’ve sought off-the-shelf parts where possible, including fans from the Ford F-150 pickup’s cooled seats and 3M air filters.
“Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment,” Ford’s Hackett said in the automaker’s statement.
Ford is exploring ways to produce the respirators and ventilators in its factories, Bill Ford said. It’s also answering U.K. Prime Minister
(Updates with Ford factory shutdown extension in ninth paragraph.)
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