Ford to Use Seat Ventilation Fans From F-150 to Make Respirators

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【Summary】With the coronavirus continuing to spread in the U.S. and American automakers closing their factories, some have started to lend a hand by building respirators.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 28, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Ford to Use Seat Ventilation Fans From F-150 to Make Respirators

The coronavirus continues to put automakers in a precarious situation. American brands, like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Ford, have all closed their factories to stop the spread of the virus. With the plants shuttered, automakers have taken it upon themselves to lend a helping hand to save lives. But Ford has an interesting way of doing it.

Helping 3M Make Respirators

All three American brands have announced plans to help companies make ventilators, respirators, and masks. FCA has plans to build face masks, General Motors has teamed with Ventec for ventilators, and Ford is now partnering with 3M and General Electric to make respirators and ventilators. The former will go to healthcare workers, while the latter will be distributed to coronavirus patients.

Instead of manufacturing a completely new component that the other companies can work around, Ford is looking to something it already has in its warehouses – ventilated seats from the Ford F-150. The fans and other components that are capable of keeping your backside cool on warm days can also be utilized to build crucial respirators and ventilators. If Ford doesn't have the parts readily on hand, the automaker can use its vast knowledge and manufacturing capability to 3D-print a large scale of components in less time than it would take for other companies to develop their own parts.

Respirators Would Increase Jobs

Respiratory masks need to be powered to keep purifying air. To complete that job, the two copmanies will be using battery packs from rechargeable tools. Apparently, those are good enough to allow respirators to be used for up to eight hours. 3M will be supplying its HEPA air filters, which ensure any airborne things are kept out of the user's air supply.

This is an innovative way for Ford to help healthcare professionals out in a trying time. Shutting down its North American factories was the right thing to do, but it's put thousands of works out of jobs. If Ford were to manufacture the respirators in Michigan, which it's reportedly planning to do, the automaker would be able to restore some jobs. It would also help 3M out by increasing the company's production of respirators by roughly 10 times its current amount. So, the partnership is really a win-win.

Respirators aren't the only thing Ford is working on to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The American automaker is currently producing face shields at its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford, Michigan. The company is using its 3D printers to build specific components for that item.

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