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Ford + GE + 3M + UAW = Medical Equipment?

Ford factory worker working on new medical equipment

Ford Teams Up With GE, 3M, UAW to Mass Produce Medical Equipment

This large partnership will speed up production of respirators, ventilators and face shields.

By The Editors

Fri, Mar 27, 2020 01:58 PM PST

Reminiscent of World War II, the automotive manufacturing industry has screeched to a halt. But the massive factories do not lie dormant. In 1942, car factories switched over to producing exclusively war vehicles and equipment. Now in 2020, we are fighting a new kind of war, a war that calls upon the action of the assembly lines once again.

Ford Motor Company has announced an ambitious manufacturing plan in partnership with 3M, GE Healthcare and the United Auto Workers (UAW). By lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise, Ford looks to quickly expand production of urgently needed medical equipment. These supplies will directly benefit healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting COVID-19.

“This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is a time for action and cooperation. 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,” said Bill Ford, Ford’s executive chairman. “At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company.”


Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of ventilators to help patients suffering from COVID-19. The ventilators help support patients with respiratory failure and breathing problems.

“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 & CEO Kieran Murphy. “We are proud to bring our clinical and technical expertise to this collaboration with Ford, working together to serve unprecedented demand for this life-saving technology and urgently support customers as they meet patient needs.”

Powered Air-Purifying Respirators

Partners from 3E and Ford have teamed up to increase the manufacturing capacity of powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR). To speed up the process, Ford utilizes off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150’s cooled seats for airflow. 3M HEPA air filters and portable tool battery packs are also being used in the production process. By taking advantage of Ford’s manufacturing capabilities, the production of these PAPRs could increase tenfold.

“We’re exploring all available opportunities to further expand 3M’s capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they’re needed most – which includes partnering with other great companies like Ford,” said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “It’s crucial that we mobilize all resources to protect lives and defeat this disease, and I’m incredibly grateful to Ford and their employees for this partnership.”

Face Shields

Ford will also produce more than 100,000 critically needed plastic face shields per week to assist medical professionals, factory workers and store clerks. These shields will be produced at a Ford-subsidized plant in Plymouth, Michigan by UAW workers.

For those interested in getting involved by contributing towards this collective effort, visit

This article was compiled by the editors of LACar.

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