Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, announced that it will begin producing a third-party ventilator with the goal to produce 50,000 of ventilators within the next 100 days and up to 30,000 a month thereafter as needed.
While Ford is bringing manufacturing capabilities to scale up production, GE Healthcare will provide its clinical expertise and will license the current ventilator design from Airon Corp.
The GE/Airon Model A-E ventilator is designed to utilise air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing the needs of most COVID-19 patients. It’s quick and easy to setup, making it easy for healthcare workers to use and can be deployed in an emergency room setting, during special procedures or in an intensive care unit, wherever the patient may be located.
“The Ford and GE Healthcare teams have found a way to produce this vitally-needed ventilator quickly and in meaningful numbers,” said Ford President and CEO, Jim Hackett.
He added, “Just as Ford in the last century moved its manufacturing from auto to tank production during World War II, the Ford team is working with GE Healthcare to use its engineering and manufacturing know-how to help address this pressing global issue.”
Ford expects to produce 1,500 by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4. Its Rawsonville plant will produce the ventilators nearly around the clock, with 500 paid volunteer employees working on three shifts. Airon currently produces three ventilators per day in Melbourne, Florida. At full production, Ford plans to make 7,200 Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilators per week.
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.