Auto manufacturers across the globe have turned their efforts toward combating coronavirus (COVID-19) and examining what resources and skills can be used to help. Ford is expanding its efforts to produce respirators, face masks, testing kits, and now medical gowns.
“The need to protect our medical teams is heightened – Ford’s gown production could not come at a better time during this crisis. Our front line health care workers are working around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients, and we need the necessary supplies to support them.”David Claeys, president of Beaumont Health hospitals in Dearborn and Farmington Hills
Ford Turns Airbag Material Into Medical Gowns
Ford has been working to help produce urgently needed medical equipment and supplies that will benefit first responders, health care workers on the frontlines and patients fighting coronavirus across the nation.
These efforts initially began with respirator production, and currently, more than 3 million have been produced. They are now scaling production to include reusable gowns for health care workers made from airbag material in Ford vehicles.
Ford worked alongside Beaumont Health in Detroit to move quickly. Together they designed the patterns for the medical gowns and tested them for sizing and functionality. This was a great relief to the immediate need of supplies. The hospital has received more than 5,000 gowns made from the airbag materials already.
The medical gowns will reach production numbers of 75,000 a week to produce 100,000 gowns a week by April 19th. By July, 1.3 million medical gowns will be complete. These medical gowns, which have tested to meet federal standards, can be washed up to 50 times.
“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. 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.”Jim Baumbick, vice president, Ford Enterprise Product Line Management
Other ways Ford is innovating to produce medical equipment
At its Van Dyke Transmission Plant, Ford began manufacturing face masks for its global internal uses. They are seeking certification for medical use as well in hopes of external distribution. Multiplying their efforts, Ford has partnered with Thermo Fisher Scientific to help scale the production of COVID-19 testing collection kits.