3M, Ford shipping redesigned powered air-purifying respirators to health care workers

Ford and 3M have developed a newly designed powered air-purifying respirator that is now being shipped to health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3M announced Wednesday.

The two companies have been working together since late March to redesign the powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) that 3M makes for first responders and health care workers to protect them from contracting the coronavirus while treating patients, according to a news release.

Ford Limited Use Public Health Emergency Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) (Ford / FOX 9)

 The Ford Limited Use Public Health Emergency PAPRs, as the newly designed product is being called, includes a hood and face shield to cover health care works’ heads and shoulders while a high-efficiency filter system provides a supply of filtered air for up to eight hours on a single battery charge.

The air blower system was built around fan components found in Ford F-150’s ventilated seats. It is powered by a rechargeable, portable battery. 

More than 10,000 of the Ford Limited Use Public Health Emergency PAPRs are ready to be shipped from Ford’s facility near Flat Rock, Michigan.

3M said it will sell and distribute the newly designed Ford Limited-Use Public Health Emergency PAPR through select 3M-authorized U.S. distributors to “quickly and efficiently deploy these technologies to health care workers.”

The Maplewood, Minnesota-based company said it will also provide technical support for health care workers using the new PAPRs. 

3M and Ford will donate any profits they earn from the sale of the PAPR to COVID-19 related nonprofit organizations, according to the news release.