Ford Motor together with General Electric (GE) Healthcare plans to produce 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days. These healthcare machines will be produced at a facility in Michigan to help aid health workers in the fight against the Coronavirus.
Due to the said virus, many automotive companies have had to shut down temporarily in order to help curve the spread of the virus. This, however, will cost these companies greatly in terms of their profits and operational costs. Instead of staying dormant many of these automotive brands have decided to shift their workforce into something much suited for the times. These automotive companies will now be producing personal protection and medical equipment instead.
According to executives from Ford and GE, the production of the 50,000 ventilators is expected to begin with help from 500 United Auto Workers union members on the week of April 20, 2020. The Blue Oval will be using its Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan for this endeavor. The repurposed plant is said to be capable of producing 30,000 ventilators a month after early July according to the American brand’s officials.
The joint venture is expected to produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of April and another 12,000 are expected to be made by the end of May. The ultimate goal of the two brands is to reach the 50,000 units produced mark by July 4, 2020.
Both companies can’t just make a ventilator just from scratch, GE Healthcare is actually licensing the ventilator systems from a small company called Airon Corp based in Florida. The small company specializes in pneumatic life support products. While these ventilators aren’t exactly the same models that GE and Ford said that they will produce, these are far less complex and are easier to make. In opting for these simple yet effective devices it will enable both companies to reach their goal faster and get ventilators out to those who need it faster. The President of GE Healthcare, Tom Westrick, assures the public that even if these are more “basic” ventilators, these are still “well-suited to address the urgent needs during the COVID-19 crisis.