Ford to Produce Model A-E Ventilator from April 20
Ford Motor Company and GE Healthcare are moving ahead on production of the Model A-E ventilator, announcing plans to manufacture 50,000 units by July 4. Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, will begin production on the ventilators on April 20.
The Model A-E ventilator leverages a design from Airon Corp., which was brought to the automaker’s attention by GE Healthcare. Relying on air pressure rather than electricity, the ventilators are quicker to produce at scale, making it easier for production to rise to meet demand among healthcare professionals treating patients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the current timeline, Ford will produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of this month, a total of 12,000 by the end of May, and a total of 50,000 by July 4. The federal government had set out a goal for industries to produce 100,000 new ventilators within the next 100 days, and Ford’s contribution will meet half of that goal on deadline.
“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,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO. “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.”
Rawsonville Components gets the nod
Ford is sending a team to Florida to work with Airon to help bolster its production capacity. In the meantime, Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant is ramping up to produce the ventilators beginning on April 20. Once the plant hits full production capacity, it will have the ability to produce 7,200 Model A-E ventilators every week. In contrast, Airon is able to build 21 Airon pNeuton Model A ventilators a week at its Florida facility.
At Rawsonville, 500 paid volunteer UAW workers will help get production to its maximum potential. UAW International President Rory Gamble likened the efforts of these employees to Rosie the Riveter, saying, “UAW members have stepped up during difficult times in this nation’s history for the good of us all.”