Ventilators are critical tools to combating coronavirus, and Ford announced more details on its production to meet demand for the machines during the ongoing pandemic. Over the next 100 days, the automaker plans to produce 50,000 ventilators in partnership with GE Healthcare. From there, the joint venture can produce up to 30,000 ventilators each month thereafter.
Last week, Ford and GM both offered their manufacturing capacity to producing ventilators to help hospitals accommodate patients suffering from novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease. For its part, GE Healthcare will license the Airon Model A-E ventilator design for Ford to produce at its Rawsonville Components plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan starting April 20, 2020. “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,” Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett said in the automaker’s announcement.
More specifically, Ford laid out more detailed estimates showing how it plans to ramp up production in the coming weeks:
- By April 30: 1,500 ventilators produced
- By May 31: 12,000 ventilators produced
- July 4: 50,000 ventilators produced
The U.S. government aims to leverage the production capacity of large automakers to manufacture 100,000 ventilators within 100 days. At the Rawsonville plant, Ford will pay UAW-represented volunteers working three shifts. Airon, the company responsible for the ventilator’s design, only produces three ventilators per day in Melbourne, Florida. Once Ford reaches full production, the company plans to make 7,200 ventilators each week.
This news comes after President Trump, among others, pressed the automaker last week to produce more ventilators quickly:
While GM had already been working on producing ventilators, the president invoked the Defense Production Act to force the automaker to build ventilators to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.