Ford Motor Company and GE Healthcare have partnered to produce 50 000 ventilators within 100 days, at Ford’s Rawsonville components plant, in Michigan, in the US.
This follows after the US government set a goal of providing 100 000 ventilators to Covid-19 patients in the country in 100 days.
The US recently became the new global epicentre of Covid-19 infections, with more than 164 000 confirmed cases and 3 000 deaths as at March 31.
The companies will leverage the design of Airon Corporation’s ventilator, which is Food and Drug Administration-cleared.
Initial production of 50 000 units of Model A-E ventilators is targeted to start on April 20, thereafter Ford can produce 30 000 units per month, as needed.
The simplified ventilator design is responsive to the needs of most Covid-19 patients and operates on air pressure without the need for electricity.
Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production, and GE Healthcare will provide its clinical expertise and will license the current ventilator design from Airon – a small, privately held company specialising in high-tech pneumatic life support products.
The units will be produced with help from 500 paid volunteer United Auto Workers-represented employees working on three shifts a day.
"We applaud Ford for its efforts to lend its manufacturing capabilities to help quickly scale the Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator and arm clinicians in the fight against Covid-19.
“Our deep understanding of the health care industry with Ford's supply chain and production expertise will help meet the unprecedented demand for medical equipment. We continue to be encouraged by how quickly companies are coming together in innovative ways to address this collective challenge,” says GE Healthcare president and CEO Kieran Murphy.