March 24 (UPI) -- Three large U.S. companies have joined forces to produce needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting the infectious and deadly coronavirus.
Ford Motors announced in a statement Tuesday that it was working with 3M and General Electric Healthcare to mass-produce respirators, ventilators and plastic face shields.
Specifically, the statement said Ford was "lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise" to increase the manufacturing capacity of air-purifying respirators with 3M, expand production of existing ventilator design with GE and assemble more than 100,000 3D printed plastic face shields a week with United Auto Workers.
The announcement came as some healthcare professionals have experienced a shortage of crucial virus-fighting supplies, such as face masks and ventilators.
"This is a critical time for America and the world," said Bill Ford, Ford's executive chairman. "It is a time for action and cooperation. By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front line of this crisis."
While the auto manufacturer didn't state when the air-purifying respirators and ventilators would be ready for shipping, it said 75,000 face shields are expected to be finished this week, 1,000 of which will be sent to Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital for testing.