Manufacturers ramping up to address the COVID-19 pandemic deserve thanks and recognition
GM, Ford, 3M, GE Healthcare and Ventec were already answering President Trump's call to produce ventilators, even as President Trump criticized companies in a statement for "wasting time."
"Associated Industries of Missouri applauds the efforts of all these manufacturers in taking extraordinary measures to fulfill a critical public safety need," said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. "Manufacturers like Ford, GM, 3M, and others are stepping up to the plate and answering our federal government's call for help. They, along with so many other manufacturers that have made addressing this crisis their top priority, should be heralded by all Americans. We thank them so much for their efforts to help save lives of patients and healthcare workers during this historic pandemic," said McCarty.
GM and Ford issued press statements about their efforts to produce ventilators at the request of the federal government, well in advance of President Trump invoking the Defense Production Act.
In GM's statement last Friday, Ventec Life Systems announced General Motors will build VOCSN critical care ventilators at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana manufacturing facility with FDA-cleared ventilators scheduled to ship as soon as next month. This effort is in addition to Ventec taking aggressive steps to ramp up production at their manufacturing facility in Bothell, Washington. Across all manufacturers, there is a global backorder of critical care ventilators capable of supporting patients fighting COVID-19. The companies are adding thousands of units of new capacity with a significantly expanded supply chain capable of supporting high volume production. GM is contributing its resources at cost. GM will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan manufacturing facility. Production will begin this week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day.
Last Tuesday, Ford announced it was working with 3M to manufacture at scale Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs). Ford and 3M are collaborating on the new design leveraging parts from both companies to meet urgent demand for first responders and health care workers. Ford is exploring production of the new PAPR in a Ford facility in addition to 3M production.
Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.
Also, in cooperation with the UAW, Ford will assemble more than 100,000 critically needed plastic face shields per week at a Ford manufacturing site to help medical professionals, factory workers and store clerks. Ford also will leverage its in-house 3D printing capability to produce disposable respirators for healthcare workers.
While both of these major domestic automakers are pivoting to supply critical help in this fight against the pandemic, efforts by other manufacturers continue as they employ an "all hands on deck" attitude in addressing this health crisis.
Danna McKitrick's Ruth Binger wrote a great article on these efforts, noting many manufacturers are stepping outside their normal roles in producing personal protection equipment (PPE), including face masks and shields, ventilators, gowns, exam boxes, surgical gloves, etc.
Binger's article also notes Missouri Enterprise is working to identify manufacturers that are capable of producing masks and gowns.
Let us know how your company is helping fight this pandemic. Send your story to Nicole Ihler at firstname.lastname@example.org so we may report to our members and THANK YOU!