Ford has long since been a staple in the American automotive manufacturing industry since the early twentieth century. With over a century’s worth of production experience—Ford is backed with the experience and infrastructural capabilities necessary to create a wide range of consumer items and products. As the pandemic began affecting people in all walks of life—Ford stepped up to take the lead in producing respirators as a means of safeguarding public health and wellness.
At the outset of the pandemic in late March, Ford teamed up with 3M to create PAPRs using existing automotive parts including vehicle ventilator fans and power tool batteries. Developed in close collaboration with 3M—Ford was able to design and manufacture powered air-purifying respirators to help protect healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Ford was well positioned to provide the support and resources necessary to help healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. AER was able to partner with Ford in the distribution of respirators and their required components.
Why Ford Quickly Pivoted Operations
Ford and 3M worked together to utilize Ford’s automotive supply chain to design and produce new PAPR equipment under a strict 40 day timeframe. Ford’s Product Development team quickly designed the new PAPR using experience gathered from Ford’s prior vehicle air conditioning expertise along with 3M’s medical device background.
Engineers from Ford expedited production immediately using a combination of engineering design and 3D printing tactics. The purchasing team at Ford worked closely with suppliers to procure the necessary components along the way. As a result production efforts began within a three-week timeframe.
The PAPR unit was created using a hood and face shield design which provides protection to healthcare workers’ heads and shoulders using a HEPA filter that continually blows air for 8 hours. Powered by a rechargeable battery—it helps provide fresh air to all first-line defenders.
Several companies under the Ford umbrella were able to step up and produce components for use in the PAPRs. Parts such as hood tops, filters, and fans were used to supply filtered air, power electronics, switches, foam seals, and more. AER partnered with Ford and 3M to help in the process along the way.
How AER Stepped up to the Challenge
AER was a key partner with Ford throughout the production and distribution process. Pivoting away from the automobile industry towards specialized medical devices—AER was able to receive, warehouse, and distribute specialized medical components.
As part of Ford’s joint venture with 3M—AER was able to help create a unique solution to the pandemic response. Through the creation and distribution of the 3M respirators—AER and Ford were able to help keep hospitals and healthcare units operating at full capacity throughout the pandemic crisis.
As a leader in the electronics manufacturing space—AER believes in staying at the forefront of innovation and sustainability. Throughout the pandemic AER was able to provide the tools and capabilities needed to effectively help protect the health and well-being of the public at large.