Ford Motor Co. and GE Healthcare announced a plan to produce 50,000 ventilators in Michigan within the next 100 days, in its efforts to support the fight against coronavirus or Covid-19. The companies would use the FDA-cleared ventilator design of Florida-based Airon Corp. Initial production will be up to 30,000 ventilators a month and thereafter as needed.
Airon currently produces only three Airon pNeuton Model A ventilators per day.
With the move, Ford would join rival General Motors in making the critically required ventilators as the confirmed cases of Covid-19 is escalating in the United States. Last Friday, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum, ordering GM to build required ventilators.
According to White House Defense Production Act Coordinator Peter Navarro, “the Ford/GE Healthcare team is moving in ‘Trump time’ to speed urgently needed ventilators to the front lines of the Trump Administration’s full-scale war against the coronavirus.”
To make ventilators, Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production, while GE Healthcare will license the current ventilator design of Model A-E ventilator from privately held Airon.
According to the company, the simplified design of Model A-E ventilator is responsive to the needs of most COVID-19 patients, and operates on air pressure without the need for electricity.
Ford, with strong partnership with UAW, will send a team to work with Airon initially to boost production in Florida. By the week of April 20, the company will start production at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Michigan.
Ford expects to produce 1,500 by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4. This plan is expected to help the U.S. government meet its goal of producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.
At full production, Ford plans to make 7,200 Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilators per week.
Last week, Ford and GE Healthcare announced a separate agreement to produce a simplified ventilator design from GE Healthcare. Ford also is working with 3M to increase the production of respirators for healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, General Motors has partnered with another ventilator maker, Ventec Life Systems, to help increase Ventec’s production.
Tesla said it will produce ventilators at its Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York to support the city’s hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic. New York is the worst affected state in the U.S.
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