February 3, 2023


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Ford, 3M to Begin Producing Respirators in Michigan This Week

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  • Ford and 3M announced today that their jointly designed PAPR, a form of personal protective equipment used by medical professionals, will start tomorrow at a Ford plant in Michigan.
  • An announcement of the collaboration was originally made in late March.
  • Ford is also producing reusable medical gowns using airbag material and working with Thermo Fisher Scientific to help expand production of COVID-19 collection kits.

    Ford and 3M announced today that the production of powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) they collaborated on designing is set to begin tomorrow, April 14, at Ford’s Vreeland plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. The automaker didn’t announce a timeline but said that they are capable of building more than 100,000 of the units.

    An announcement of the collaboration was first made in late March and to complete the project, Ford and 3M worked together to build a new PAPR. The new PAPR includes a hood and face shield to protect health care worker’s head and shoulders. Using fans from the F-150’s cooled seating system and 3M’s HEPA air filters, air is supplied for up to eight hours. Federal approval of the units is expected in late April.

    “By working collaboratively with 3M to quickly combine more than 100 years of Ford manufacturing and engineering expertise with personal protection equipment design and expertise, we’re getting much-needed technology into the hands of frontline medical workers to help when they need it most,” Marcy Fisher, Ford director, Global Body Exterior and Interior Engineering, said in a statement.


    Additionally, Ford is working on producing reusable medical gowns made from repurposed airbag material and providing manufacturing knowledge for Thermo Fisher Scientific to expand production of COVID-19 collection kits. By the week of April 19, Ford says that they will be producing 100,000 gowns a week.

    Ford has also previously announced that it will begin ventilator production the week of April 20 at its Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The automaker is working with GE to build the ventilators and aims to produce 50,000 of the systems by July 4, or in 100 days.

    As of last Friday, Ford had shipped 3 million face masks after beginning production on March 23.

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