This is a powered air purifying respirator PAPR for short.
It was designed and built by Ford to help medical professionals and first responders, stay safe During the ongoing Coronavirus crisis now just to be clear, this one here is only a demonstration unit intended for training purposes.
That means nobody at a hospital or elsewhere is going without a respirator because we're producing this video which we happen to be shooting in my personal isolation chamber, aka the garage.
With their factories idle and many workers furloughed car companies have joined the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
They're putting their mass production expertise and engineering talent to good use building things like
Face shields, ventilators and of course respirators.
And it's pretty cool that Ford was able to get us this demonstration unit on such short notice.
So we can show you what it is and how it works.
So what exactly does a [UNKNOWN] do?
Well, they're designed to provide the wearer with a stream of filtered air delivered under positive pressure to protect them from contaminants Obviously in this case, the system is intended to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
But respirators like this one do have uses in other applications.
They can be worn while painting or welding, for instance, to protect against noxious fumes.
But Ford's design here is only intended to be used against the coronavirus.
As you can see, these things are made up of a few major components.
You've got the hood, which you wear on your head, there's this small section of tubing and of course, the main unit itself, which you kind of wear like a backpack.
I'll show you how all this goes together in just a minute.
So inside, I pop this small door off, you'll see there's actually a little battery.
From a power tool and this lasts about 8 hours between recharges beyond that can't really see it through these gills, but that's where the all important heppa filter is, which keeps those nasty viruses out and then, And then of course inside here, which we can't really show you.
There's a blower fan, which sucks air through the filter and up through the tube.
Now that's actually based on a design that you would have in a ventilated car seat similar to what you might have in a Ford F 150 truck.
Ford tapped into its supply chain to help build these packers and things like the filter power electronics, and switches are either used in vehicles or borrowed from partner companies.
Aside from all that there is another automotive tie in engineers were supposedly inspired by one of Ford's earliest cars, the revolutionary Model T. Engineers had to build a respirator that was easy to make, simple to service and, of course, very durable.
All hallmark traits of that old Tin Lizzie.
Ford was also in a race against time in order to save lives.
So even though this machine is based on an existing 3M design, they were able to go from their initial idea To a functioning model in about 40 days, and in product development terms that is crazy fast, it was a really scrappy effort on their part, which is why they call this internally the scrappy paper.
As for functionality, it's all very straightforward.
So air gets sucked in, it passes through that half a filter, the blower pushes it out of this nozzle, it runs through the hose and then up Into the hood here where it provides the where with an abundant stream of fresh filtered air.
So this hose obviously just connects to the back of the hood like that.
It should, click right on like that.
I'm going to toss this over my back like that and put the hood on now, which Slides right over like that I gotta tweak my glasses a little bit.
But it's definitely got a tight seal around my head but it's not overly tight.
It's very light and visibility is quite good.
Now I'm gonna take this end of course, and I'm gonna clip that on to the nozzle on the main unit like that.
So it's attached Now the on switch is actually at the bottom of the unit, and you just press it like that.
So, how do I look?
Wearing this thing it's surprisingly comfortable there is some elastic that holds the hood to my face, but it's not overly tight.
Now, the fan is putting out quite a bit of air more than you might expect Spect which is also helping keep the face shield here clean so that as I breathe, I'm not fogging up the plastic and overall this is quite comfortable.
My vision is unobstructed it doesn't affect my glasses too much and I could totally see wearing this for an eight hour shift or longer.
As for the main unit, as I mentioned earlier, you're gonna wear this on your back with a strap and it's not overly heavy.
I estimate it weighs.
I'm gonna guess around five pounds and it's not too bulky either.
The company Started producing these respirators in the middle of April at a facility located near Flat Rock, Michigan which is a little bit south of Detroit.
If you know cars, you know that Ford builds the Mustang and Lincoln Continental down in Flat Rock.
Now, the company says they have enough capacity to build up to 100,000 or more of these respirators if needed, but Let's hope they're not necessary.
Aside from building papers, the company is doing a lot of other stuff to help fight in this Coronavirus crisis.
They're building lots of personal protective equipment.
They've already made some 10 million face shields.
They're building isolation gowns, making those actually Out of airbag material, they've got the capacity to make some 200,000 of those per week.
Plus Ford has partnered with GE Healthcare to build life saving ventilators.
No Ford is not the only automaker involved in this fight, but they're certainly doing their part.
It's certainly a difficult time we're living in but with the automotive industries help building pampers and other equipment Plus the selfless dedication of health care workers and other frontline fighters.
We will get through this.