As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt lives and livelihoods across the world, industries and manufacturers are stepping up in ways never before imagined as they shift operations to produce the products vital to the fight against the coronavirus. And the plastics industry has been there every step of the way, providing the materials and guidance needed to support these efforts. Recently, M. Holland was honored to provide this support to Ford in the automotive company’s COVID-19 response and mobilization.
Starting in late March, Ford and 3M teamed up to concept a new design for powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs), and developed a plan to increase production. While 3M’s locations in Europe provided design specifications and materials to the U.S. team, they still needed guidance on local materials to begin U.S. respirator production.
This is where Ford reached out to M. Holland’s Automotive team for assistance. After examining the properties of the materials used in European production, our automotive experts were able to determine which U.S. materials had the same properties and would be the best alternates. After just over a month of planning and production, Ford and 3M started rolling out final testing and delivered the first order on May 6 to the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
Around the same time that Ford teamed up with 3M, it also joined forces with GE Healthcare Systems to increase the production capacity of ventilators. Ford and GE are fulfilling a government contract for 50,000 ventilators that can operate on air pressure without the need for electricity. Most importantly, the ventilators are designed for quick setup to make it easier for healthcare workers to use and deploy wherever needed, from an emergency room setting, operating rooms or intensive care units.
M. Holland supplied Ford with ABS, polyethylene and polypropylene to aid in the production of both PAPRs and ventilators.
Ford’s collaborations with 3M and GE Healthcare are prime examples of the kinds of cooperation and innovations taking place in the private sector to address the shortages of key equipment needed to care for critically ill patients.
“We are proud that our expertise is helping meet the unprecedented demand for medical equipment,” M. Holland Automotive Market Manager Matt Zessin said of the Ford project. “We remain encouraged by the numerous instances of companies coming together to innovate and address this collective challenge”
Throughout this crisis, M. Holland will continue to embrace opportunities to help in the fight against COVID-19. You can read more about M. Holland’s initiative to develop 3D-printed masks for healthcare workers in Plastics News, and stay tuned to our social media channels to see more examples of our expertise in action during this response.