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Coronavirus prompts Ford, GE Healthcare partnership to produce 50,000 ventilators in Michigan

The company will also produce up to 30,000 additional ventilators per month as needed

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Ford Motor Company announced on Monday that it will partner with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 ventilators within 100 days at its plant in Michigan. Ford will also produce up to 30,000 additional ventilators per month as needed.

(AP Business Wire)

GE Healthcare will license the design of ventilator manufacturer Airon Corp's Model A-E ventilator, which uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing the needs of most coronavirus patients. The ventilator is designed for quick setup, making it easy for health care workers to use, and can be deployed in an emergency room setting during special procedures or in an intensive care unit.

“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. “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 will initially send a team to work with Airon to boost production in its Melbourne, Florida, plant, where the manufacturer currently produces three ventilators per day. At full production, Ford plans to make 7,200 Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilators per week.

“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,” said GE Healthcare President and CEO Kieran Murphy. “Our deep understanding of the health care 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.”

(AP Business Wire)

By April 20, Ford will start production at its Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ford’s Rawsonville plant will produce the ventilators nearly around the clock, with 500 paid volunteer UAW-represented employees working on three shifts.

“From the days of Rosie the Riveter, UAW members have stepped up during difficult times in this nation’s history for the good of us all,” said UAW International President Rory Gamble. “Today’s announcement by Ford that UAW employees will make ventilators at Rawsonville is in that tradition. We are working very closely with Ford to make sure that all CDC guidelines are followed and that we are exercising an abundance of caution inside the plant. Ford and our UAW Ford members should be commended for stepping up in these very uncertain times.”


President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, March 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump praised the partnership as well as nine other companies who are working on ventilators during a coronavirus task force briefing Monday. He also said the U.S. would send ventilators to other countries being affected by the virus.

"As we outpace what we need, we're going to be sending them to Italy, we're going to be sending them to France, we're going to be sending them to Spain, where they have tremendous problems, and other countries as we can," Trump said.


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

(AP Business Wire)

“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," White House Defense Production Act Coordinator Peter Navarro said. "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. 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.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR CO. 13.05 +0.10 +0.81%
GE GE AEROSPACE 159.26 -3.45 -2.12%

The Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator is the second ventilator collaboration between Ford and GE Healthcare. Last week, Ford and GE Healthcare announced a separate effort to produce a simplified ventilator design from GE Healthcare.