Ford is producing face masks in the UK and face shields at other Ford sites in Europe 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 the UK, Germany, Spain and Romania. 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 personal protective 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 personal protective equipment they need,” said Rene Wolf, director of manufacturing, Ford of Europe.
The company plans to increase output to meet the demand for the full resumption of European business, combining with a similar facility in the United States to provide global coverage of face masks for Ford employees worldwide.
The company’s Dunton Campus in the UK has installed 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 at the Dunton Technical Centre, Ford of Europe.
“The machines were sourced from 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 Centre, 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 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 employees and the local dealer network.
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.