Ford Motor Company this week said it will start producing 50,000 ventilators in 100 days at its Michigan plant, and 30,000 a month thereafter as needed.
GE Healthcare is slated to provide clinical expertise to Ford and will license the ventilator design from Airon. GE Healthcare recommended the Airon design to Ford as the company looked to scale up the production of ventilators.
Ventilators are one of many shortages happening within hospitals and the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Other car manufacturers such as GM and Tesla have also announced that they would reconfigure their manufacturing process to make ventilators.
The GE/Airon Model AE ventilator is designed to operate on air pressure without the need for electricity. Its production can be quickly scaled to meet the demand in the U.S. alone.
“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,” president and CEO Jim Hackett said in a news release. “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 plans to send a team to work with Airon to boost production in Florida. By mid-April, the company will start production at its Ypsilani, Mich. facility to reach full production capacity.
“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. Just as Ford in the last century moved its manufacturing might seamlessly from auto to tank production during World War II, the Ford team is working with GE Healthcare to use its awesome engineering and manufacturing capabilities to voluntarily help this nation solve one of its most pressing problems,” White House Defense Production Act coordinator Peter Navarro said. “We salute that effort and look forward to the first ventilators rolling off the Michigan assembly line in record time – and we’ll be there to salute that milestone.”
Ford expects to make 1,500 ventilators by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4.
This is Ford’s second partnership with GE Healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic. The company last week announced a separate effort to make a simplified ventilator design by GE Healthcare.
Ford also last week partnered with 3M to increase the production of the healthcare company’s powered air-purifying respirators.
“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,” GE Healthcare president and CEO Kieran Murphy said. “Our deep understanding of the healthcare 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.”