The Ford Motor Company has announced an ambitious project to create 50,000 ventilators for people suffering from the Coronavirus in the space of 100 days.
A team of 500 United Auto Workers union members, who have volunteered to work on the project, will begin production at Ford's Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The new design is called the Airon Model A-E ventilator. Designed by Airon Corp, the device operates on air pressure alone and requires no electricity. The Airon plant, located in Melbourne, Florida, can only build three units per day, so Ford will contine production on a round-the-clock schedule with three shifts of workers.
From CNN Business:
On Monday, Virgin Orbit announced it was also seeking to produce ventilators, making it one of the first aerospace companies to get involved. The California-based rocket startup said it has been working with UCI Health, a California research hospital, and the University of Texas at Austin, to create a prototype for a so-called "bridge" ventilator — a simple device that the company says can be quickly manufactured on a large scale.
Kevin Zagorski, an engineer who typically works on rocket engine design, is heading up Virgin Orbit's ventilator manufacturing efforts. He said that if the bridge ventilator design gets approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its design in the coming days, Virgin Orbit could soon begin producing hundreds or thousands of the ventilators per week at its Los Angeles factory. The company also plans to share the ventilator designs with other manufacturers in aerospace and other industries, who may be able to take up production as well.