“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,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford said on a conference call with the media.
According to the companies, Ford will start to manufacture 3M’s new respirator that uses a blower, instead of a person’s lungs to draw air through a filter.
GE Healthcare officials said a “simplified” version of the machine will be manufactured in an expedited fashion.
Ford said his company jumped into action after the U.S. government requested help. The equipment will be produced in at least one of the company’s Michigan plants, but didn’t say which plant or plants at this time.
The company said its U.S. design team is also creating and starting to test transparent full-face shields for medical workers and first responders to pair with N95 masks.
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.
The company said it will employ UAW workers to assemble more than 100,000 of the plastic face shields every week at a Ford manufacturing site to help medical professionals, factory workers and store clerks.