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DENSO, Ford Honored For Respirator Collaboration

Mobility companies honored by Society of Plastics Engineers for efforts to support frontline workers during the pandemic.


Ford Motor Company and DENSO have received an Automotive Innovation Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Automotive Division. They earned the honor for their alliance to produce respirators for frontline workers battling COVID-19. It was a project that represented unprecedented mobilization across the companies to ramp up new production and help those in need.

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Over the span of roughly 25 days in 2020, hundreds of DENSO employees – including designers, manufacturing engineers, and production workers – came together to develop components for Ford’s powered air purifying respirators (PAPR). Despite a short timeline, Ford, DENSO and its supply chain quickly brought this medical-grade personal protection equipment to mass production.  

“Our motivation in this project was to do whatever we could to help frontline workers, who put their lives at risk to help save others. We are so grateful for all they have done to protect our communities during the pandemic,” said Sergio Pujols, vice president of Energy Management Engineering at DENSO. “Our gratitude also extends to Ford – for giving us the opportunity to participate in such an important initiative and having trust in us to achieve it – and to all our employees who supported. Because of their DENSO Spirit, they helped us realize one of our core goals: contributing to a better world for all.” 


For almost 50 years, the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Program has been one of the world’s most prestigious and largest competitions of its kind. Dozens of teams made up of OEMs, top tier suppliers and polymer producers submit nominations of their parts, systems and vehicles for consideration. Ford Motor Company and DENSO were honored in the “Innovative Automotive Industry Plastic Solutions for COVID-19 Protection” award category. The recognition was given for their ability to navigate condensed schedules and difficult circumstances to manufacture desperately needed respirator components.

Ford and DENSO were honored alongside fellow SPE Automotive Innovation Award winners at SPE’s 50th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on Wednesday, November 10, in Livonia, Michigan.