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Ford Australia begins testing face shield prototypes

Face shields developed by Ford Australia begin prototype testing ahead of rollout

7 Apr 2020

AFTER turning its design and manufacturing expertise to help combat the COVID-19 virus currently gripping the world, Ford Australia has developed the first prototypes of a face shield designed to assist frontline medical personnel.


Developed at Ford’s National Parts Distribution Centre in Broadmeadows, Victoria, the new shields are currently in the testing stage, with prototypes having already been delivered to several local hospitals for user trials.


The design for the face shields were developed in-house by Ford Australia’s design team, while working with a number of suppliers to source the materials.


Ford says it will be able to continue working at full capacity on its regular projects while making the face shields, and still intends to meet all milestones and deadlines originally set before the pandemic took hold.


The masks are not the same as the fabric surgical masks worn tightly around the mouth and nose and secured around the ears, but are rather a splashguard-type visor consisting of a clear plastic screen, foam padding for the forehead and a strap that fits around the head.


Speaking to GoAuto last month, Ford Australia president and CEO Kay Hart said Ford had been in discussion with the government on a range of initiatives that the Blue Oval brand could do to support the fight against COVID-19.


“We have been in contact with the government here and we’re actively working on how we could support them in all of their efforts in potentially a range of different ways,” she said.


“We have an amazing team of engineers, designers, innovators … a great amount of ‘brainpower’ here to support the cause in Australia.


“We could have a role to play from an innovation standpoint, engineering standpoint, manufacturing, assembly, we just have a great deal of skillset here with our Australian-based team, and also access to some great knowledge from around the world and from our point it’s a matter of sharing that knowledge that we’ve been able to get from our colleagues in the US and the UK.”


Ford Australia has also introduced a range of measures over the past week, including offering its 2nd Car program to frontline healthcare workers, who can access a Ford vehicle free of charge for a period of up to four weeks.


It has also revised its protocols for servicing vehicles, by allowing customers to have their car picked up and dropped off by Ford employees instead of going to and from a dealership.


Furthermore, when the car is dropped off following a service, Ford employees will also sanitise the car by disinfecting all touchpoints.


More details on the distribution and creation of the manufactured face masks are expected to come to light in around a week’s time.

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