Ford was one of the automakers who rose to the task when the U.S. needed to boost ventilator production in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But now that its job is nearly complete, Ford's not quite done helping out the country. Instead, it'll pivot to yet another much-needed piece of safety equipment: masks.
Ford announced earlier this month that once it has built 50,000 ventilators, the automaker will pivot to producing 100 million masks. Expected to run through 2021, Ford is already cruising toward its target at the pace of 2.5 million medical-grade masks per week. It will boost these figures by increasing the number of production machines by late October.
While the release is light on specifics, Ford promises the masks it produces will go toward Ford employees and those in at-risk communities.
"As the pandemic continues, so does the spirit, grit and dedication of our Ford team and UAW partners to step up and contribute to help our country," said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. "Working together, we're setting a goal of producing 100 million masks for families, children, individuals and communities who need them most."
Ford and the United Auto Workers union have been putting in some serious work since the pandemic hit. This year already, Ford and its partners have produced more than 45 million face masks, 20 million face shields, 50,000 ventilators, 32,000 purifying respirators and 1.4 million washable gowns. Last month, Ford sent more than 10 million face masks to a number of organizations, including the National Urban League and American Red Cross.
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