COVID-19

Ford working with 3M, GE Healthcare on ventilator, respirator production, to 3D-print shields

The automaker is using new 3D printing technology to create face shields.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has announced that it has reached an agreement to partner with 3M and GE Healthcare to aid in the production of medical equipment needed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, colloquially known as coronavirus. Additionally, Ford will leverage its in-house 3D printing ability to produce 100,000 face shields per week. The move has the full support of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

"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 3M GE Healthcare The automaker is leveraging its manufacturing facilities to help with the crisis.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford, 3M partner on respirators

Ford and 3M will increase the manufacturing capacity of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company's powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) utilizing a new design that could be procured in a Ford facility in Michigan by UAW workers.

According to Ford, the teams have been locating "off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150's cooled seats for airflow, 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants such as droplets that carry virus particles and portable tool battery packs to power these respirators for up to eight hours."

"Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment," said Jim Hackett, Ford's president and CEO. "We've been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs. We are focusing our efforts to help increase the supply of respirators, face shields and ventilators that can help assist health care workers, first responders, critical workers as well as those who have been infected by the virus."

"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."

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's team is already at work on perfecting techniques.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford, GE Healthcare team up to produce ventilators

In addition to the 3M partnership, Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare's existing ventilator. These ventilators could be produced at a Ford manufacturing site in addition to a GE location.

"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."

Work on this initiative ties to a request for help from U.S. government officials.

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's engineering team has come up with a design for a filtration system.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

3D printing respirators and face shields

Ford's design team is working to create and test transparent full-face shield for medical workers and first responders. The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

The first 1,000 face shields will be tested this week at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospitals. Roughly 75,000 of these shields are expected to be finished this week and more than 100,000 face shields per week will be produced at Ford subsidiary Troy Design and Manufacturing's facilities in Plymouth, Mich.

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's engineering team has shown off a sketch of a disposable hood design.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

According to a release, Ford is leveraging its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford, Michigan, and in-house 3D printing capabilities to manufacture disposable respirators, which are needed to help filter the air healthcare workers and first responders breathe. Once approved by the proper health agency, Ford will initially start at a pace equal to 1,000 per month but that production can grow quickly.

Ford has announced new employee-centric initiatives.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

There's a certain helplessness that comes from being told you must stay indoors while others are out risking their lives. The Ford Motor Company Fund (Ford Fund) has announced two new opportunities for Ford employees around the world looking to reach out to their community from inside their homes.

This news follows the Ford Fund's previously announced commitment to allocating $1.6 million in resources to help communities and local nonprofits throughout Southeast Michigan and across the United States address hunger, shelter and mobility needs related to COVID-19.

Donation Match

The COVID-19 Donation Match program is a combined effort between Ford Fund and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford that will match $500,000 in donations to designated community organizations, raising a potential $1 million for groups battling the pandemic across the globe. Mr. Ford, who started the Ford Volunteer Corps 15 years ago, has committed funds to the program.

In initiative is managed by GlobalGiving, Ford's longtime disaster relief and global grant-making partner, and aims to support community projects in locations that have both a significant level of emergency need and a substantial Ford employee presence. Projects focus on addressing hunger, shelter and mobility needs, providing educational resources, or delivering critical medical supplies and services to communities in need.

Employees and others interested in donating can visit www.globalgiving.org/ford-covid-response to view a full list of participating countries as well as cities across the United States, and to learn more about community projects they can support. GlobalGiving will add new projects and additional details over the coming weeks, so employees are encouraged to check back often for updates.

Virtual volunteering

Ford Fund's new "Read and Record" virtual volunteering project invites Ford employees from around the world to record and submit videos reading a children's book in their own language. The effort is designed to provide Ford employees a way to give back from the safety and comfort of their own homes, and builds on Ford Fund's ongoing efforts to increase literacy and promote a love of reading.

The online library will be catalogued by language, and multilingual employees are encouraged to read in languages other than English. Ford Fund plans to share the library with philanthropic groups that serve children and families.

A library of free online resources to help occupy your family is available at www.fordfund.org/covid19. Activities include virtual tours, downloadable worksheets, online tutorials, videos and more – all designed to help entertain, educate or inspire people of all ages. The site's "How You Can Help" page also outlines ways employees can contribute to specific nonprofit needs for volunteers or donations of goods and supplies.

BroncoSportForum.com has posted what appears to be leaked information about the forthcoming Bronco Sport.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

There's good reason to believe that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to the grades, packages, paint jobs, features, and powertrain options of the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. On Thursday, BroncoSportForum.com had a user post images from Ford's dealer ordering portal.

The information below is what the images show. AutomotiveMap has not been able to independently verify the information.

There are five trim levels

The portal lists the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport model in Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition trim levels. Ford recently trademarked the Big Bed, Badlands, and Out Banks names in correlation with the name Bronco.

Ford frequently sells First Edition models. It's likely the Bronco Sport First Edition is a limited run of the first models that are slated to come off the line. Frequently these models feature special badging, a unique paint color, "First Edition" logos on the interior on floor mats and headrests.

All models are 4x4s.

That's not a surprise. The so-called Baby Bronco is expected to be similar in nature to a Jeep Renegade, which is quite capable in its own right. It rides on the same platform as and is manufactured in the same facility as the Ford Escape, which comes standard with front-wheel drive and is available with all-wheel drive.

The Bronco Sport will have a 105.1-inch wheelbase.

That's not the same as the Ford Escape. Despite the fact that they share a platform, the Escape has a wheelbase that's about 1.5 inches longer.

It will come in the buyer's choice of 10 paint jobs.

The colors listed in the leaked photos show Shadow Black, Rapid Red Metallic TC, Oxford White, Kodiak Brown, Iconic Silver, Cyber Orange Metallic TC, Carbonized Gray, Cactus Gray, Area 51, and Alto Blue Metallic TC.

Here are the other vehicles the paints are available on:

  • Shadow Black - Mustang Mach-E
  • Rapid Red Metallic TC - Explorer and Escape for a $395 surcharge
  • Oxford White - F-150 and Ranger
  • Iconic Silver - Mustang Mach-E, F-150, Transit, Ranger, Edge, Super Duty, Fiesta, and Mustang
  • Cyber Orange Metallic TC
  • Carbonized Gray - Mustang Mach-E

Some of the colors have been leaked previously in relation to the Bronco when AutomotiveTouchUp.com listed 2021 Ford Bronco paint touch up colors.

There are two roof colors.

Buyers can only choose from a black or gray roof. There is no indication that the model will be available with a body color roof.

The Badlands Package adds a touch of class.

If you won't want to opt for the full Badlands model, which is likely to be the top-tier model, buyers can opt for the Badlands Package. The images show that the package includes:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Automatic dimming rearview mirror
  • Body-color door handles
  • Heated front passenger seat
  • and two other components coded as "F6-A-L-SVT MINI PERF TWOTONE" and "FRONT 4-WAY HD RESTNT ST 1"

There's other stand alone package options.

The long list of addition options includes:

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • MyFord technology/6 speakers/SiriusXM
  • Power six-way passenger seat
  • Remote start
  • Reverse sensing system
  • Roof conversion - low opening (likely a removable roof; low opening may refer to a lesser amount of headroom, a common feature of sunroofs)
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Wireless charging
  • Cargo mat
  • Cargo management system
  • Engine block heater
  • Front license plate bracket

The Bronco Sport can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

A Class II Trailer Tow Package is listed as available. Class II hitches are rated to carry up to 3,500 pounds of gross trailer weight. This is the same capacity as the 2020 Ford Escape.

One size wheel and two types of tires are available.

Ford lists the tires as 225/65R17 A/T and 235/65R17 A/T. The 225/65R17 tires are the standard tires on the 2020 Ford Escape S, SE, and SE Sport. The others come on the Limited and XLT grades.

The form shows that the Bronco Sport rides on 17-inch wheels.

There are two engine choices.

It looks like the Bronco Sport will come standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A 2.0-liter turbo-four is also available. Both engines are likely paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Automatic start-stop engine tech is standard.

This may be the most disappointing Bronco Sport news. However, it's not unexpected.

Cloth seats are standard. Leather-trimmed seats are available.

It looks like the cloth seats will be available in the Active Orange or Area 51 colors while there are also Ebony leather-trimmed seats. The good news is that these likely aren't the only options, just the options shown with the particular paint color the Ford spy chose.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is likely going on sale later this year.