GM, Ford and Tesla have all announced initiatives to help produce ventilators for coronavirus patients as well as respirators for medical workers, all of which are in short supply these days. Ford, in cooperation with the UAW, will assemble more than 100,000 critically needed plastic face shields per week at a Ford manufacturing site to help medical professionals, factory workers and store clerks; Ford also will leverage its in-house 3D printing capability to produce components for use in personal protective equipment. “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,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO. “We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs. We are focusing our efforts to help increase the supply of respirators, face shields and ventilators that can help assist health care workers, first responders, critical workers as well as those who have been infected by the virus.”

Ford is working with 3M to manufacture Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) and the two companies are collaborating on the new design, leveraging parts from both companies.  As the above sketch shows, this includes raiding the F-150 factory parts bin for seat cooling fans and repurposing them to provide airflow in powered respirators.  What a cool idea !