US-based automobiles manufacturer Ford has joined forces with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 units of ventilators within 100 days in Michigan, to support COVID-19 patients.

Under the colaboratin, Ford will contribute its manufacturing capabilities for rapid scaling of production, and GE Healthcare will leverage its clinical expertise.

In addition, GE Healthcare will license the ventilator design from Airon, a small privately held medical device firm focused on advanced pneumatic life support products.

Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett said: “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 No. 1 priority.”

Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator will address the demand for ventilators in the US

The GE/Airon Model A-E ventilator are designed to be operated on air pressure, without needing electricity, and will address the needs of COVID-19 patients.

Ford intends to send a team to initially work with Airon to advance production in Florida, and will begin the production at its Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

The company is planning to produce 1,500 ventilator units by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July,  to help the US government in producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.

The Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator marks the second collaboration between Ford and GE Healthcare for ventilators, following their announcement last week to produce a simplified ventilator design from GE Healthcare.

The combined ventilator supply is expected address the increasing demand for ventilators in the US to fight against COVID-19. The ventilator design will support the needs of COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.

GE Healthcare president and CEO Kieran Murphy said: “We applaud Ford for its efforts to lend its manufacturing capabilities to help quickly scale the Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilator and arm clinicians in the fight against COVID-19.

“Our deep understanding of the health care industry with Ford’s supply chain and production expertise will help meet the unprecedented demand for medical equipment. We continue to be encouraged by how quickly companies are coming together in innovative ways to address this collective challenge.”