Ford on Tuesday jumped into the emergency push by major U.S. manufacturers to produce thousands of ventilators and respirators needed to help treat those most desperately affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus under a partnership code-named “Project Apollo.”
By joining forces with General Electric’s healthcare unit and 3M Co, Ford is taking heed of U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for U.S. automakers to work across sectors in producing equipment needed for the pandemic.
Ford said its partnerships were code-named “Project Apollo” after the Apollo 13 launch in 1970 when a lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank failed two days into the mission, forcing the astronauts to improvise a fix.
Ford and GE Healthcare will expand the production of GE’s ventilator design to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing caused by the pathogen. In addition, they are developing a simplified design that Ford could begin making at one of its plants.
Separately, Ford will work with 3M to increase manufacturing capacity of its air-purifying respirators by up to a factor of 10 to meet a surge in demand for first responders and healthcare workers, while also similarly developing a simplified design that Ford could build at one of its Michigan plants.
Under the simplified design, Ford is looking at using fans from its Ford F-150 pickup’s cooled seats to make parts of the respirators.
MacDailyNews Take: Mobilizing! Hey, remember: Quality is Job 1!