Ford is stepping up its drive to encourage Americans to #FinishStrong in the battle against COVID-19 with the announcement of three new initiatives that include new mask donations and new solutions to help protect people against the virus. It also aired special Super Bowl ads aimed at addressing the pandemic.
During Super Bowl LV, Ford asked Americans to come together, protect each other, and fight COVID-19 in regions hit hardest by the virus while also planning to distribute more than 25 million free medical-grade masks over the next five weeks alone. The Super Bowl LV message was expected to receive about 325 million impressions in some of the hardest-hit COVID-19 regions.
Ford also increased its mask-donation commitment to 120 million masks, up from 100 million, for communities and organizations with limited access to personal protective equipment.
“The data shows that we can save a lot of lives in the coming months by coming together as Americans and protecting each other. Our mission is to inspire people to stay safe. There is no bigger platform to do so than Super Bowl LV,” says Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas & International Markets Group. “Together with Ford Motor Company Fund, we’re also giving out more than 25 million medical-grade masks in some of the hardest-hit areas to make it easier for people to help protect each other.”
Ford also designed two new innovative anti-virus protective countermeasures — a patent-pending clear respirator that could benefit those with hearing impairments, and instructions for an open-source fan and HVAC filter design that can help reduce virus particle concentrations in spaces such as classrooms.
Clear N95 Respirators
Ford has received patent-pending approval for an innovative new clear respirator it expects to certify to N95 standards of virus elimination.
The transparent, low-cost, reusable respirators enable a full range of human expression, allowing people to better communicate with each other and aiding those with hearing impairments to help read lips that are today blocked by conventional cloth and filtered masks. This is also a safe solution where visible human expression is desired, such as teaching, air travel, and sales.
“One of the things that’s missing during the pandemic is the power of a smile,” says Jim Baumbick, Ford vice president, enterprise product line management and leader of Ford’s Project Apollo personal protective equipment manufacturing effort. “This clear respirator promises to improve interactions between neighbors, at the store and for those who have hearing impairments.”
Testing on the respirators to prove their effectiveness continues this winter, with expected availability sometime this spring.
COVID-19 Air Filtration Box Fan Kits
Ford has developed an air filtration kit that people can make at home or in school. The air filtration kit supplements a room’s existing filtration system to further help reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus particle concentrations. The kits are based upon scientific studies from academic and government research.
The company plans to donate up to 20,000 air filtration kits to underserved communities. More details will be shared by March 2021.
The filtration kit is comprised of an easy-to-assemble die-cut cardboard base, a 20-in. box fan, and a 20x20x4 air filter with a standard minimum efficiency reporting value of 13. The air filter is placed inside the folded base with the fan placed on top. The fan operates on high for maximum filtration, discharging clean air downward as it pulls in unfiltered air from above.
Because COVID-19 can spread through droplets when infected persons exhale, cough, sneeze, or talk, Ford conducted smoke particulate testing of the air filter at an independent test lab using the industry standard AHAM AC-1 test. These tests show that the unit provides a clean air discharge rate of 213 cubic feet per minute.
Ford and the University of Minnesota conducted aerosol modeling studies in a classroom-sized space that show increasing air filtration in closed spaces helps reduce particulate concentration, which includes aerosols and droplets.
“Our modeling results clearly show that improvements in air filtration of poorly ventilated spaces through the proper use of a portable air cleaner can help reduce the chance of breathing in contaminated aerosols,” says Dr. Jiarong Hong, mechanical engineering professor in the University of Minnesota’s college of science and engineering.
The impact of the portable air cleaner unit depends on where it’s placed and the size of the room. Ford studies show that with a room size of approximately 960 square feet, similar to an average-size classroom, adding two portable air cleaner units can triple the air changes per hour compared to what a building HVAC system alone would clean, refreshing the air 4.5 times per hour.
Ford is also making the base design available free by downloading this instruction template. Ford does not provide the fan or filter. An empty home delivery box can serve as the base.
Ford, in partnership with the UAW and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, previously made a commitment to produce and donate 100 million U.S.-made medical-grade face masks to at-risk communities across the country. With the acquisition of another 20 million masks, Ford and Ford Fund have now increased their promise to 120 million donated masks by mid-2021.
“Ford Fund would like to thank our nonprofit partners and Ford dealers throughout the U.S. who have been instrumental in ensuring masks are getting to people and communities who need them most,” says Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund.
Since August, more than 66 million masks have been distributed to nonprofit organizations, state and local officials, first responders, schools, community groups and Ford dealerships in all 50 states.