On Monday, Ford released a statement highlighting the measures it was taking along with various partners in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said it was “lending” its manufacturing support to help Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) expand COVID-19 test collection kits.
Jim Baumbick, vice president Ford Enterprise Product Line Management, said, “We knew that to play our part helping combat coronavirus, we had to go like hell and join forces with experts like 3M to expand production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.”
Working with 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) on design and testing, Ford has developed a new powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR). The production of this respirator will start on Tuesday at Ford’s Vreeland site near Flat Rock, Michigan. Ford can make 100,000 of these respirators.
In collaboration with airbag manufacturer Joyson Safety Systems, a subsidiary of the Chinese firm Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp, Ford is making reusable gowns. These gowns are made with airbag material. The go-fast project is expected to reach a scale of 75,000 gowns a week by Sunday and scale up to 100,000 gowns by the week of April 19. It is expected that by July 4, 1.3 million gowns will have been cut and sewn.
Additionally, Ford is making face maks for internal use globally and is striving to get these certified for medical use. Facemask production began earlier in the week.
Why It Matters
The involvement of Ford would allow Thermo Fisher to treble the number of COVID-19 test collection kits that they can deliver each week beginning April 20.
Washable gowns made by Ford and its partner are vital because each gown can be washed up to 50 times and reused. More than 5,000 gowns have already been delivered to the Beaumont Health in Metro Detroit.
Guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are pushing the sale and demand for facemasks in the country.
Ford is also involved in the production of full-face shields for medical workers. As of Monday, the company had manufactured more than 3 million face shields in partnership with the Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (OTC: MAHMF) in India, as well as in Canada and Thailand.
Ford shares traded 2.71% higher at $5.30 in the pre-market session on Tuesday. The shares had closed the regular session 3.91% lower at $5.16.
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