Ford, GE step up to produce vents

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, will begin producing a third-party ventilator with the goal of producing 50,000 units within 100 days and up to 30,000 a month thereafter as needed.

Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to scale production, and GE Healthcare will provide clinical expertise and will license the current vent design from Airon Corp., a Melbourne, Fla.-based company specializing in high-tech pneumatic life support products.

“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.

The GE/Airon Model A-E vent operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing most of the needs of COVID-19 patients, the companies say.

Ford expects to produce 1,500 vents by the end of April; 12,000 by the end of May; and 50,000 by July 4—helping the U.S. government of meeting its goal of producing 100,000 vents in 100 days.

Ford’s Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., will produce the vents nearly around the clock, with 500 employees working on three shifts. Airon currently produces three Airon pNeuton Model A ventilators per day in Melbourne, Fla. At full production, Ford plans to make 7,200 Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilators per week.