Remember, we’re all in this fight together. The corporate world is no different; in fact, it should shoulder a larger burden and that’s just what Ford has ingeniously concocted by applying the seat ventilator blower motors in respirators for frontliners of the Covid-19 virus.
The Blue Oval will be working with 3M to manufacture the powered air-purifying respirators; labelled positive-pressure masks as they draw in contaminated air through a filter then push it to the sealed mask on the user’s face using an air blower.
Most of you would’ve guessed that the blower motors would be from the air-conditioning system but those are way too large. Instead, the blowers are being pilfered from America’s best-selling pick-up, the F-150; specifically its front ventilated seats.
These motors are ideal for the job as they tick all the right boxes. They require a 12V supply so will function with a battery pack for portability and produce between 14-19 cfm of airflow.
For comparisons sake, the 3M TR-800 respirator produces between 6.7 and 7.8 cfm. Adjustability is an easy option to reduce the airflow required closer to the latter.
Air-conditioning blowers deliver airflow in the hundreds of cfm and are of course much larger in size. The Delta seat blower measures in around 3x3 or 4x4 inches wide and less than an inch tall.
As for the aforementioned battery supply, Ford will be turning to power tool batteries. The 12V units should be capable of powering the respirators for just under five hours. Furthermore, seeing that the blowers will only be running at half speed, the potential for a longer duration of operation is entirely possible.
With all the parts being off-the-shelf items, there are massive quantities available and the suppliers can always produce more on short notice.
Only assembling them will require some work, although Ford is already up and at it on that end as well. The carmaker has employed its resources at its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford, Michigan to produce face shields using in-house 3D printers.
Face shields from Ford are already delivered and the respirators with 3M will hopefully follow soon.
Since we don't get the F-150 here, you can read up on the best pick-up truck in Malaysia here; the Ranger Raptor.