General Motors is currently making ventilators at its electronics components plant in Kokomo, Indiana thanks to a $490 million government contract that it was given under the Defense Production Act. The Kokomo plant was already well-suited to manufacturing ventilators as it typically serves as an automotive electronics assembly plant, but GM still had to prep the site for ventilator production.
The automaker recently released a video documenting its journey from receiving the government contract to putting the Ventec brand ventilators into production. The process began when GM and Ventec started communicating on March 17th, which prompted GM to activate its supplier base to gather the necessary components and machinery for manufacturing the ventilator machines.
GM began converting the Kokomo plant on March 25th and, thanks to round-the-clock efforts from its team of hourly and salaried workers, the facility was ready to go just 11 short days later. It officially began mass-producing the Ventec V+ Pro ventilator machines on April 14th and shipped the first examples to Chicago-area hospitals on April 17th.
“We delivered our first units in just one month because we have had incredible support from our suppliers, the Kokomo community, and state and federal officials,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra said of the automaker’s efforts. “Their passion and commitment are helping turn the tide of the pandemic.”
GM plans to have produced 30,000 of the Ventec V+ Pro machines through the end of August and will have additional capacity to produce more should they be needed. It’s not clear if all of the machines will be sent to hospitals and other medical centers, or if some will end up in the federal government’s reserve of the machines. The U.S. government said previously that it had around 10,000 ventilators stockpiled away, however not all of the machines were in working condition, reports indicate.
Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple says having an adequate supply of ventilators is extremely important while the world is still without a vaccine.
“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.