As the number of hospitalizations for Ford is the latest company to answer it.continues to grow, so too does the call for American companies to retool for the production of medical ventilators, and
Ford is committing to producing 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days in concert with GE Healthcare at its Rawsonville, Michigan components plant, according to an announcement made by the company on Monday. The production is set to begin on April 20 and will cap out at a planned 30,000 units per month once the lines are up to speed.
The ventilators being produced are unique in that they don't require any electrical power to function, operating on air pressure and bottled oxygen alone. The design has been licensed by GE Healthcare from a Florida company called Airon and should prove efficacious in the bulk of COVID-19 cases involving respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.
"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, Ford's president and CEO, in a statement. "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."
The production of these simplified and unpowered ventilators will occur in parallel with a previously announced plan to have Ford assist GE Healthcare in building ventilators of its own design. Both programs are said to have the full support of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.