Ford, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, will leverage the design of Airon Corp.’s FDA-cleared ventilator to produce in Michigan.
Ford Motor and GE Healthcare plan to produce 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days at a facility in Michigan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Production of the critical care devices is expected to begin with United Auto Workers union members on April 20, according to executives at both companies. The facility at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich. will be able to produce 30,000 ventilators a month after early-July, officials said.
Ford expects to produce 1,500 by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4, officials said.
The design of the ventilator is being licensed by GE Healthcare from Florida-based Airon Corp., a small, privately held company specializing in high-tech pneumatic life support products. The devices are simpler, less complex than other ventilators the company is producing at other facilities.
Ford, according to executives, does not have any private customers at this time to purchase the ventilators and is “working closely” with government officials to fulfill needed demand.
The announcement comes three days after President Donald Trump ordered Ford’s crosstown rival, General Motors, to make ventilators under the Defense Production Act hours after criticizing the company for not acting quickly enough to produce the devices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Korean War-era statute can force certain American companies to produce materials that are in short supply in the face of the growing outbreak.