With the number of Covid-19 cases in the United States breaching the 140,000 mark, companies in the country are pulling their resources together to help fight the pandemic. Among them is automaker Ford, which has announced that it will be producing 50,000 ventilators at its Rawsonville plant in Michigan.

Working together with GE Healthcare, the ventilator’s design will be provided by Airon Corporation, a small, privately held company specialising in high-tech pneumatic life support products.

The company’s Model A-E ventilator is designed to operate on air pressure without the need for electricity and can be set up quick to be deployed in an emergency room setting. Its production can also be easily scaled to help meet growing demand in the US, especially for Covid-10 patients who are in dire need of them right now.

Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production and will initially send a team to Melbourne, Florida to work with Airon to boost production there – the company currently produces three pNeuton Model A ventilators per day.

Ford’s production schedule will see ventilator production begin at its Rawsonville plant by the week of April 20, with an output out 7,200 units of the Model A-E ventilators per week planned. The automaker aims to have 1,500 units ready by the end of April, before ramping up to 12,000 units by the end of May and 50,000 units by July 4.

The 50,000 units will account for half of the US government’s goal of producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days, and the Rawsonville plant will operate nearly around the clock with 500 paid volunteer UAW (United Auto Workers)-represented employees working on three shifts to make sure the goal is met.

“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. By producing this ventilator in Michigan, in strong partnership with the UAW, we can help health care workers save lives, and that’s our number one priority,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford.

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