Ford using air bag material to make gowns for health care workers

Ford using air bag material to make gowns for health care workers
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U.S. auto giant Ford on Monday announced that it is partnering with air bag supplier Joyson Safety Systems to produce 1.3 million medical gowns for the country's medical professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic by July 4.

The company said that the production of the gowns using air bag materials will ramp up to a weekly rate of 75,000 by Sunday, eventually increasing to a rate of 100,000 gowns per week.

Ford noted that the gowns can be washed and reused up to 50 times and were designed with the help of Beaumont Health, Michigan's largest health care system.

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Additionally, the auto manufacturer said that it was beginning production of powered air-purifying respirators on Tuesday at its Vreeland facility in Flat Rock, Mich., and has consulted with fellow manufacturing giant 3M to produce the design.

Ford also said that it has the ability to make more than 100,000 respirators. The machines will be made by 90 paid United Auto Workers union volunteers, according to Ford.

“UAW Ford members continue to step up and volunteer to work during this difficult time as we expand at the facility across from Flat Rock to make respirators and at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant to make face masks for medical use,” Gerald Kariem, vice president of UAW's Ford department, said in a statement.

“The UAW also continues to work with Ford to follow stringent CDC guidelines and go above and beyond protections for these members who are so proudly volunteering to serve their communities and their nation," he added.