Ford Motor is producing face masks in the U.K. and face shields at other Ford plants in Europe as part of initiatives to provide a safe working environment for workers performing essential roles at Ford facilities in Europe during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
Production of personal protective equipment is currently underway at Ford centers in the U.K., Germany, Spain and Romania. This is designed to make sure that that Ford’s intention to resume initial production at most of its main continental European vehicle and engine plants this week does not add to worldwide demand for such personal protective equipment.
“We want our production facilities to be prepared and our staff protected – but we are determined to make sure that this has no impact on those tackling the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis from getting the personal protective equipment they need,” said Rene Wolf, director of manufacturing, Ford of Europe.
The company plans to boost output to meet the demand for the complete resumption of European business, combining with a similar facility in the U.S. to provide worldwide coverage of face masks for Ford workers worldwide.
Face mask production
The company’s Dunton Campus, in the UK, has risen to the challenge by setting up two new purpose-built machines that are able to produce between 60 and 90 general-use, disposable face masks per minute. Three teams of ten are going to work around the clock to produce the masks.
“To get these machines up and running in such a short time, the response from everyone contributing in this task has been just amazing,” said Chris White, manager, Dunton Technical Centre, Ford of Europe.
“The machines were sourced from China, and a Ford China team worked non-stop to plan the delivery and ensured we could easily learn how to install and utilize them. Now, just a few weeks after the project was kicked off, we’ve already got our staff covered.”
Face shield production
In Germany, Ford’s Rapid Prototyping Center, located in Merkenich, will in future handle the whole area’s volume production of face shields. The team is using in-house injection-moulding machines to produce up to 5,000 face shields daily for use throughout all Ford facilities in Europe.
In Valencia, Spain, Ford is using 3D printing to produce 300 face shields per day, while in Craiova, Romania, around 10,000 face shields have already been produced for Ford workers and the local dealer network.
The initiative to produce face masks and face shields is part of the automaker’s Project Apollo, a global effort to produce personal protection equipment, help with local and national initiatives, and boost the availability of ventilators – all to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.
Coronavirus has so far infected more than 1,379,699 people in Europe and killed more than 125,897 people in the continent.