DEARBORN, Mich. - The fan cooling your seat in the F-150 may now be used in a respirator designed to ward off the coronavirus.
Using materials from different locations, Ford is teaming up with manufacturers 3M and GE Healthcare to help build respirators and ventilators. They'll also be speeding along with production for badly-needed medical equipment for health care workers.
In a tribute to Detroit's arsenal of Democracy legacy, automakers General Motors and Ford were exploring the idea of bolstering the country's production of breathing units to aid in the fight to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Ford plans on assembling 100,000 face shields per week, while also leveraging the company's 3D printing capability to build disposable respirators for health workers. The first 1,000 face shields will be tested at area hospitals this week.
Many of these will be built by UAW members and the company anticipates roughly 75,000 will be finished by the week's end.
"This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is a time for action and cooperation," said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford in a release. "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."
Using one of its Michigan factories, Ford is planning on boosting 3M's production tenfold. Ford is also preparing for producing badly-needed ventilators at one of its manufacturing sites to keep up with demand as more COVID-19 cases are reported.
"We are encouraged by how quickly companies from across industries have mobilized to address the growing challenge we collectively face from COVID-19," said GE Healthcare President and CEO Kieran Murphy.
Shortly following the closing of several factories due to fears that the coronavirus could spread among plant workers, Ford and GM said they had been in touch with the federal government about supporting health departments around the country to mitigate some of the potential damage tied to COVID-19.
The company is also working on ways it can aid internationally, like the U.K. and China.