Ford and General Electric Healthcare are teaming up in an effort to help address the intensifying coronavirus concerns in the United States by building 50,000 ventilators to be distributed to health care workers on the front lines.
Production is set to begin on the week of April 20 and is expected to finish after 100 days in time for the 4th of July.
The ventilators will be built at a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan that was specifically retooled for the project, where 500 employees from the United Auto Worker will be working 24 hours a day to hit the production goal. Ford and GE are looking to produce the first 1,500 ventilators by the end of April.
“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,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. “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,” he added.
To quicken their progress, GE has also licensed the production of an Airon ventilator which operates without requiring electricity. The Airon ventilators that will be built will be on top of the 50,000 machines committed by Ford and GE.
“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,” UAW International President Rory Gamble said in a statement.
This also follows reports that General Motors will also be working with Ventec Life Systems to produce 100,000 ventilators a month to be distributed across the U.S.