Ford is now manufacturing face masks and face shields at its European facilities as part of the measures to provide a safe working environment for returning employees during the COVID-19 crisis
Production of personal protective equipment in Germany, Romania, Spain and the UK reduces demand for outsourced equipment that is needed by other services and industries
The initiative is part of a global effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19
Ford is producing face masks and face shields as part of initiatives to deliver a safe working environment for employees performing essential roles at Ford facilities in Europe during the COVID-19 crisis.
Production of personal protective equipment is already underway at Ford facilities in Germany, Romania, Spain and the UK. This is designed to ensure that Ford’s intention to restart initial production at most of its main continental European vehicle and engine plants next week does not add to worldwide demand for such equipment.
“We want our production facilities to be prepared and our staff protected – but we are determined to ensure that this has no impact on those tackling the COVID-19 crisis from getting the equipment they need,” said Rene Wolf, director of manufacturing, Ford of Europe.
Watch our video of mask production here: https://youtu.be/3WSZmfW8lDw
The company plans to increase output to meet the demand for the full resumption of European business, combining with a similar facility in the U.S. to provide global coverage of masks for Ford employees worldwide.
The company’s Dunton Campus, in the UK, has risen to the challenge by installing two new purpose-built machines that are capable of producing between 60 and 90 general-use, disposable face masks per minute. Three teams of ten will work around the clock to produce the masks.
“To get these machines up and running in such a short time, the response from everyone involved has been just amazing,” said Chris White, manager, Dunton Technical Centre, Ford of Europe. “The machines were sourced from a company in China, and a Ford China team worked non-stop to prepare the delivery and ensured we could easily learn how to install and use them. Now, just a few weeks after the project was kicked off, we’ve already got our staff covered.”
In Germany, Ford’s Rapid Prototyping Center, in Merkenich, will in future handle the whole region’s volume production of face shields. The team is using in-house injection-moulding machines to produce up to 5,000 face shields per day for use across all Ford facilities in Europe.
In Spain, in Valencia, Ford is using 3D printing to produce 300 face shields per day, with 5,500 units already donated to medical professionals. A further 1,500 shields will be donated, while the team will continue to produce shields for internal use.
Face shields are also being produced in Romania, in Craiova. Around 10,000 shields have already been produced for Ford employees and the local dealers’ network. The team there is also awaiting required approvals from the Romanian authorities that they might start donating face shields to hospitals and other relevant institutions.
The initiative to produce face masks and face shields is part of Ford’s Project Apollo, a global effort to produce personal protection equipment, assist with local and national initiatives, and increase the availability of ventilators – all to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.