Just yesterday, we covered GM’s announcement that it would shift into production of new Ventec ventilators as a means of assisting medical personnel treating coronavirus COVID-19 patients. Now, General Motors says it is looking into reconfiguring its production facility in Kokomo, Indiana, to build the much-needed ventilator equipment.
“Ventec Life Systems and General Motors have been working around the clock to implement plans to build more critical care ventilators,” GM and Ventec said in a statement. “With GM’s support, Ventec is now planning exponentially higher ventilator production as fast as possible.” Combining Ventec’s medical technology and GM’s expertise in manufacturing, the two companies are coordinating the drastically ramp up production of these life-saving devices.
Details on how many ventilators will be produced and when they will be available hav yet to be defined. However, the two companies did say that “additional updates will be provided as they are available.”
The facility in Indiana produces small electronic components for GM vehicles, such as engine, transmission and airbag modules in addition to sensors and circuit board assemblies, primarily for the GM aftersales market. However, it will be repurposed to address the need for additional medical equipment. Although retooling for such an undertaking would normally take months to complete, the automaker is rushing to complete the project amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
In an email to suppliers, GM’s vice president of global purchasing, Shilpan Amin, indicated that GM had secured roughly 95 percent of the parts needed to build the ventilators.
Other U.S. automakers, including Ford and Tesla, have also stated that they would pursue ventilator production to help in the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Ventilator availability has been a growing concern in the U.S. as the number of new cases continues to rise. The novel coronavirus COVID-19 can result in severe respiratory complications, and in other countries hit by the virus, ventilator shortages have forced doctors to decide which patients will receive treatment.