Much like in World War II, American companies seem to be coming to the rescue in the face of adversity - this adverse event in particular being the battle against the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Ford Motor Company, in a partnership with General Electric (GE) Healthcare, announced on Monday that they will begin producing ventilators in order to help treat those with COVID-19. Production is said to begin the week of April 20th, with a goal of manufacturing 50,000 ventilators in the "next 100 days," culminating on July 4th.
According to Ford:
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.
Ford’s Rawsonville plant will produce the ventilators nearly around the clock, with 500 paid volunteer UAW-represented 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.
Yes, the union representing auto workers is on board as well with the plan to shift production in order to help those most in need. United Auto Workers (UAW) President Rory Gamble commented on the collaboration between Ford, GE Healthcare and UAW.
"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,” Gamble said. “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."
Here are two videos from Ford explaining both the timeline of the ventilator build and one of the ventilators in test use: