Ford to 3D-print face shields, help create respirators and ventilators

Already producing face shields to ward off the coronavirus, the automaker details its impressive work on simplified respirator mask and ventilator designs.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Ford 3D-printed face shield

The first 1,000 of these are already at hospitals in Michigan.


The Arsenal of Democracy is becoming the Arsenal of Innovation as Ford , General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles step in to assist in the fight against the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Ford detailed extraordinary measures it's undertaking as the automaker ramps up efforts to support health care workers on the frontlines. The Blue Oval said it's already started 3D-printing face shields -- a critical piece of personal protective gear -- for health care workers to help protect them from the virus as they treat patients. The first 1,000 shields already shipped out to local Michigan hospitals for use. By the end of this week, Ford says it will have 75,000 shields complete, and 100,000 shields will roll out of two Ford facilities weekly thereafter.

In the short term, Ford also has over 200,000 N95 masks it will soon donate to the medical community as it reacquires them from Chinese facilities and other areas of its business.

While work continues on face shields, Ford said it's teamed up with 3M and GE to support the design and manufacturing of respirator masks and life-saving ventilators. With 3M, Ford told its engineers to get scrappy and creative, and they delivered.

Ford builds PPE amid COVID-19 pandemic

The face shields are ramping up to 100,000 produced weekly.


Ford and 3M are now working on a powered air-purifying respirator mask design, and the automaker noted UAW workers could build them in one of the automaker's facilities. Both companies scanned through Ford parts and plucked components for the design, which includes fans from an F-150's ventilated seats for airflow and a portable battery to keep the respirators powered for eight hours at a time. 3M HEPA air filters keep COVID-19 droplets at bay and health care workers safe as they treat patients.

The automaker also revealed big plans to build a simplified ventilator at US production plants, thanks to a partnership with GE.

Watch this: 2020 Ford Escape: For the masses

First published March 24.