Ford announced today that it is partnering with 3M in order to manufacture powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These respirators are often called positive-pressure masks as they take contaminated air, pull it through a filter, then push it to the sealed mask using an air blower.
Ford will assist by providing components from their parts bin to build the respirators. The design released by Ford will use 3M filters that draw air into a blower motor sourced from an F-150 and then pushed through a tube up to a mask that is sealed to the user’s face.
The blower motor is sourced from the F-150’s front seat assembly and is usually employed as part of the ventilated seat option. These motors are compact and run on 12 volts in the car, so they can be used with a battery pack in a situation where they need to be portable.