COVID-19

Ford manufacturing respirators, repurposing airbags as PPE, expanding test kit production

As part of its efforts to aid in the age of COVID-19, Ford is producing face masks.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has produced 3 million face shields for health care workers in the last few weeks. Now, they're expanding their COVID-19-related production efforts to include designing a new powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), producing face masks, repurposing airbags as personal protective equipment, and scaling up production of coronavirus test kits.

3M partnership yields new respirator design

Designed, developed, and tested in partnership with 3M, the PAPRs will go into production at Ford's Vreeland facility near Flat Rock, Michigan on Tuesday, April 14. They will be made by 90 paid UAW volunteers. Ford predicts that its production capability will allow it to make 100,000 or more respirators.

Ford respirator design A new respirator design was formulated by experts from Ford in consultation with 3M.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

According to a release, "Since late March, Ford manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain experts have been embedded at 3M manufacturing facilities to help increase production of urgently needed products. With this additional help, 3M and Ford were able to increase the output of PAPRs and N95 respirators at 3M's U.S.-based manufacturing facilities."

The PAPR includes a hood and face shield to cover health care professionals' heads and shoulders, while a HEPA filter system provides a supply of filtered air for up to 8 hours. The air blower system – similar to the fan found in F-150's ventilated seats – is powered by a rechargeable, portable battery.

The development team expects the respirator design will meet the pending National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health limited-use protocol to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, with approval anticipated by the end of April. Once approved the PAPRs will be distributed by 3M. 3M and Ford will donate any profits they earn from the sale of the PAPR to COVID-19 related nonprofit organizations.

"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, said Jim Baumbick, vice president, Ford Enterprise Product Line Management. "In just three weeks under Project Apollo, we've unleashed our world-class manufacturing, purchasing and design talent to get scrappy and start making personal protection equipment and help increase the availability and production of ventilators."

Face masks are being made in Michigan

Ford is also currently producing face masks at their Van Dyke Transmission Plant for internal use globally and pursuing certification for medical use. Production began earlier this week using materials provided by Ford's roster of global suppliers.

There are 30 UAW paid volunteers making masks in the plant's ISO Class 8 cleanroom, which is a controlled environment with extremely low levels of pollutants, enabling the safe production of face masks for medical use. Ford anticipates approximately 80 UAW paid volunteers will make masks as production increases.

Additionally, Ford has started providing manufacturing expertise to help scientific instrument provider Thermo Fisher Scientific quickly expand production of COVID-19 collection kits to test for the virus.

Ford Airbag gown production Ford has teamed with its airbag supplier to create reusable gowns.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Using airbags to create PPE

Ford is working with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems to create reusable gowns made from the material that is used to make Ford airbags. Production of the personal protective equipment is anticipated to reach 75,000 gowns per week by Sunday and scale up to 100,000 gowns for the week of April 19. By July 4, Joyson Safety Systems will be able to cut and sew 1.3 million gowns, which are self-tested to federal standards and are washable up to 50 times.

Ford worked with Beaumont Health in Detroit to design the gown pattern and test for sizing during fit and function trials. More than 5,000 gowns have already been delivered to the hospital.

Scaling up collection kits for COVID-19 tests

Ford is helping scale production of collection kits for COVID-19 tests at Thermo Fisher Scientific. The companies are utilizing Thermo Fisher's Lenexa, Kansas facility and Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant engineering team.

Work continues on ventilator production

The ford and GE Healthcare initiative to produce ventilators continues. Work at Rawsonville Components Plant in Michigan is underway to transform a portion of the plant in to a production facility by April 20. Built by paid UAW volunteers, the goal is to produce 50,000 Model A-E ventilators by July 4.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Ford F-150 will come in a hybrid variant

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

If Ford is making anything clear these days, it’s that the future all-electric F-150 won’t just just a mundane street car. The future model will be capable of achieving the same feats as the rest of the company’s family of full-size pickup trucks, if not with more gusto than its relatives.

Ford has confirmed that the battery-electric (BEV) F-150 will be on sale in just a few years. To get to that point, there’s a lot of work that isn’t just going into product development, but also into facilities development. Demand for the F-150 BEV is expected to be high and Ford’s Rouge Complex can’t absorb it as the plant stands now.

Ford Rouge Complex The Ford plant in Dearborn will be the home of the F-150 electric truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The company will invest $700 million in the Dearborn, Michigan plant to include a new high-tech manufacturing home for the model. The investment will add 300 jobs. This $700 million is on top of the $1.45 billion that Ford is spending to equip its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to produce the Ranger and Bronco.

"We are proud to once again build and innovate for the future here at the Rouge with the debut of our all-new F-150 and the construction of a modern new manufacturing center to build the first-ever all-electric F-150," said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. "This year's COVID-19 crisis made it clear why it is so important for companies like Ford to help keep our U.S. manufacturing base strong and help our country get back to work."

The all-electric Ford F-150 is expected to come to market in mid-2022. The redesigned 2021 F-150 will come to market later this year and include a new hybrid powertrain option dubbed the F-150 PowerBoost.

Recently, the company captured video of the F-1500 BEV testing in the wild.

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The popular Tremor Off-Road Package will be available on the 2021 Ford Ranger.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Is that a rumble in your truck or are you just happy to see me? The Ford Ranger is getting the Tremor Off-Road Package for the 2021 model year, making it the most capable Ranger ever sold in the U.S. (but not the world - global markets have the Ranger Raptor).

"Tremor gives Ranger customers a new level of off-road confidence and fun," said Chad Callander, Ford Ranger marketing manager. "With increased ground clearance, off-road tuned suspension and aggressive Continental General Grabber tires, Tremor elevates Ranger's off-roading capability even further while keeping the unique advantages that come with a cargo box for hauling gear anywhere."

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor The Tremor package is available on the XLT and Lariat trim levels.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford offers the Tremor package on XLT andLariat grade models. Each is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that delivers 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission and 4x4 drivetrain is standard.

Each model with the Tremor package features a grille with Magnetic-painted surround with black bars running across the middle and red accents at the corners. There is badging on both sides of the cargo box and buyers can add a hood and body graphics package.

The 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor goes beyond the FX4 Off-Road Package. Its suspension is lifted and combines with redesigned front knuckles and 32-inch Continental General Grabber A/TX all-terrain tires wrapped around new 17-inch Magnetic-painted wheels to give the truck 9.7 inches of ground clearance - 0.8 niches more than the Ranger SuperCrew 4x4.

Ford has added Fox 2.0 monotone dampers with remote rear reservoirs and hydraulic rebound stops that are tuned for a comfortable ride on pavement while delivering the control necessary when heading off-road. The shocks are specially tuned with progressive rebound end zone damping. The front and rear springs are also tuned for off-road performance, a multi-leaf rear spring setup allows increased wheel travel, and the anti-roll bar has reduced stiffness.

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The truck has improved travel dynamics. It has a 30.9-degree approach angle, 25.5-degree departure angle, and a 24.2-degree breakover angle. Front suspension travel is up to 6.5 inches. At the rear it goes up to 8.1 inches. Those numbers are better than the typical mid-size truck, but not as good as proficient off-roaders like the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Jeep Gladiator.

The Ranger Tremor also includes a frame-mounted steel front bash plate, underbody skid plates, rear locking differential, and a Terrain Management System with four drive models and Trail Control. Ford notes that the system is calibrated for improved acceleration and traction in gravel to allow for peel outs in a washout.

Two rear-mounted recovery hooks are standard in addition to the traditional two up front. Ford has also added hoop steps. Customers can add a number of accessories like winches, lights, and air compressors thanks to Tremor's six-switch auxiliary power bank that is mounted to the dashboard with rated loads of 25 amps, 15 amps and 10 amps, plus three switches at five amps

2021 Ford Ranger XLT Tremor

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The truck has a 1,430-pound maximum payload and available 7,500-pound maximum towing capacity.

The grade of the model dictates the interior of the model. Each model comes with Mike suede seat inserts and "Tremor" stitched int other setbacks, and black accents.

The Tremor Off-Road Package is priced at $4,290. It is scheduled to go into production in Michigan early next year.

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