The automotive giant Ford has announced the production of 1.3 million medical gowns for front line medical professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems who will be undertaking the cutting and sewing of the much-needed gowns is targeted to produce up to 100,000 gowns a week.
The second-most used piece of PPE after medical gloves is the isolation gown. They are generally made from waterproof material, with long arms and snapback closure to help healthcare professionals stay fully protected against any spray or splash.
These gowns are in such short supply that professionals have discussed how to extend the use of a single gown.
Can airbag manufacture produce sufficient isolation gowns?
It turns out that the Nylon 6,6 material used in vehicle airbags makes for an ideal PPE material. By using this material which is also used for parachutes, garden hoses and carpets, allows the gowns to be washed up to 50 times and still hold performance quality.
Ford, consulted a local hospital to finesse the sewing pattern and Beaumont health helped with the reusable design. All gowns have been tested internally to make sure they meet the standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM F3352-19) and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (ANSI-AAMI PB70-2012).
" This was a really great find," explains Ford director Marcy Fisher.
Gerald Kariem, vice president of UAW's Ford Department, stated "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," stated Gerald Kariem, vice president of UAW's Ford Department.
"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".
With most significant car manufacturers having stopped production, Ford is one of several automakers that has re-deployed its resources to fight the pandemic. Companies such as General Motors and Tesla have transformed some of their factories to help manufacture ventilator and face masks. In contrast, other businesses and organisations have stepped up to offer their services in the making of PPE for worldwide use, from car manufacturers, beauty brands to fashion houses.
With companies worldwide wanting to help in the fight against the coronavirus, we may have a winning chance of getting this pandemic underhand.