Ford Aims to Produce 50,000 Ventilators
Ford’s Rawsonville plant in Michigan will produce the much-needed ventilators quickly.
In yet another example of a manufacturer stepping up to help the country combat fallout created by the coronavirus, the Ford Motor Co. is teaming with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days and up to 30,000 a month thereafter as needed.
Ford is providing its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production, and GE Healthcare will provide its clinical expertise and will license the current ventilator design from Airon Corp., a small, privately held company specializing 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, addressing the needs of most COVID-19 patients.
Ford expects to produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4 to help the U.S. government meet its goal of producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.
“The Ford and GE Healthcare teams, working creatively and tirelessly, have found a way to produce this vitally needed ventilator quickly and in meaningful numbers,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford. “By producing this ventilator in Michigan, in strong partnership with the UAW, we can help health care workers save lives, and that’s our No. 1 priority.”
Ford will initially send a team to work with Airon to boost production in Florida, and by the week of April 20 will start production at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., quickly ramping up to reach full production to help meet surging demand.
Ford’s Rawsonville plant will produce the ventilators nearly around the clock, with 500 paid volunteer UAW-represented employees working on three shifts.
The Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator is the second Ford-GE Healthcare ventilator collaboration. Ford and GE Healthcare announced a separate effort to produce a simplified ventilator design from GE Healthcare.