Ford Motor stated on Monday it is producing face masks at a Michigan plant to safeguard its workers from the coronavirus pandemic and is looking for certification of those masks for medical use.
The automaker stated the masks are being created at its Van Dyke transmission plant located in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and were developed together with the United Auto Workers union.
Ford executive Adrian Price stated the automaker will need a “surge” of protective equipment for workers as it resumes operations, which the company has said it prepares to do during the current quarter. Long-term, however, Ford does not aim to stay in the business of producing medical equipment or rivaling with incumbent providers such as 3M, Ford Vice President Jim Baumbick stated during a conference call on Monday.
The automaker also stated it is using its high-volume manufacturing and supply chain capability to assist Thermo Fisher Scientific to boost production of COVID-19 collection kits, using plastic bottles appropriate for field testing.
The automaker said it is also working with provider Joyson Safety Systems to manufacture reusable gowns from airbag materials.
About 614,180 people in the US have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 26,061 people in the country.