More Ventilators Are Coming From US Automakers

COVID-19 / Comments

It took General Motors less than one month to make them.

Just over a week ago, General Motors began training a 1,000-strong workforce at its Kokomo, Indiana electronics plant to start producing life-saving ventilators to help in the fight against Covid-19. This is yet another example of an automaker shifting its production focus to medical supplies as Ford also announced that the first of its in-house respirators will be shipped out this week. GM has announced today that production the Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilator has begun under contract to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers, and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic," said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. "Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work."

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In less than one month's time, Ventec and GM's supply chain, manufacturing, logistics, legal, and talent acquisition teams were able to mobilize to fill a 30,000-unit order from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"Until there is a vaccine, critical care ventilators give medical professionals the tools they need to fight this pandemic and save lives," said Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple. "This partnership is a historic effort and a great reminder of what can be accomplished with the power of American innovation and American manufacturing skill uniting together around a singular mission to save lives."

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GM says the effort involved sourcing hundreds of parts and assemblies from suppliers, designing a new manufacturing process, and transforming the Kokomo factory. Ford was able to design respirators using components found in an F-150 seat fan, but GM hasn't specified if similar efforts were made using parts from the Chevrolet Silverado or any other vehicles.

In a press release, GM confirmed that 600 ventilators will be shipped in April, and almost half the total order will be filled by the end of June. The full 30,000-unit order will be completed by the end of August, with the capacity to build even more ventilators beyond that timeline, if needed.

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