The United States is in a race to produce enough medical supplies and equipemnt to properly outfit our healthcare and other front line professionals. Many US corporations are stepping up to help. Ford has re-purposed parts of the F-150 to construct much needed Powered Air Purifying Respirators.
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The job of a powered air-purifying respirator is to draw outside, possible virus—contaminated air into a filtration system before making it available for the person wearing it to breathe. Unlike passive filters like masks which rely on the wearer’s lungs to draw the air through a filter mesh, these powered respirators can enclose a person’s entire head in a hood and flood the hood with filtered air.
To do this means you need to have something that can actually draw the air in, which is why it’s powered, and that’s where the clever, car-part-related bits come in.
Ford is re-purposing seat-cooling squirrel-cage-type blower fans from F-150 trucks to pull in air through the filters and blow the air into the feeder hose for the hood. The 12V needed to drive the fan is provided by what looks to be a standard power tool battery pack, the kind you’d use in something like a power drill.