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Coronavirus impact: Ford to manufacture 50,000 ventilators in 100 days

Team OD  | Updated: April 06, 2020, 08:17 PM IST

Ford Motor Company and GE Healthcare have come together to begin production of ventilators that will be used by the COVID-19 patients. The company plans to make 50,000 units of the same in 100 days and will ramp up to 30,000 units per month in the next phase. The automobile brans will be lending its manufacturing facility for large scale production whereas GS Healthcare will offer its clinical prowess. The ventilator design has been licensed from Airon Corp, a company that specialises in high-tech pneumatic life support products. The GE/Airon Model A-E ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity.

A Model A-E ventilator, left, and a simple test lung. The ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity

The plan is to send a team of Ford's engineers to work with Airon in Florida and ramp up the production there. On April 20, the manufacturing of the ventilators will start at the Rawsonville components plant to ramp up production.  This facility that will be run by 500 paid volunteers of United Auto Workers, who will be working in three shifts to make these ventilators. Presently, Airon produces three Airon pNeuton Model A ventilators per day in Melbourne. This number will be increased to 7,200 Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilators per week using Ford's scale of production. The automobile major expects to produce 1,500 units by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4 that will help the U.S. government meet its goal of producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.

The Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator is the second Ford-GE Healthcare ventilator collaboration. Last week, Ford and GE Healthcare announced a separate effort to produce a simplified ventilator design from GE Healthcare. The combined ventilator supply will help address the increasing surge demand for ventilators around the U.S.

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