General Motors said on Tuesday that its first fans are ready for delivery. The automaker signed a contract with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to license 30,000 Ventec Life Systems V + Pro intensive care ventilators, following criticism from President Donald Trump in March when he accused the company of “wasting time”. These ventilators are designed to treat the most critically ill patients who require invasive intubation (tubes inserted into the lungs) as opposed to non-invasive machines like CPAP or BiPAP devices, which are also often called ventilators.
GM says it will ship the first 600 fans by the end of April, with “almost half the order” ready by the end of June and all 30,000 by the end of August. The company has the capacity to produce more if necessary. The automaker has leveraged its supply chain and worked with suppliers to source parts and assemblies, and has worked closely with Ventec to manufacture these urgent medical devices.
“Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have come together to support their neighbors and healthcare professionals on the front line of this pandemic,” said Mary Barra, President and CEO General of GM. “Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It’s inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment that people have put into this work. “
“This partnership is a historic effort and a great reminder of what can be accomplished with the power of American innovation and American manufacturing skills that unite around a single mission to save lives,” said Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems.
Other automakers respond to COVID-19 crisis
GM is not the only American automaker to shift into high gear in the production of medical devices. Ford announced on Monday that it will begin production of PAPRs for medical personnel this week. Ford has worked with 3M on PAPRs, although the devices have not yet received approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is expected to occur by the end of April. Ford also produced masks and gowns.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said the company’s shuttered solar panel plant in Buffalo, New York would be reorganized to produce fans “as soon as humanly possible,” although New York officials have since clarified that once the Buffalo plant resumes operations. , it would only be a single component, not complete ventilation systems.
With time running out to prepare hospitals for the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation announced Tuesday that it has released guidance documents. urgent need for the rapid development of safe and effective respirators and resuscitators for use by companies which generally do not produce medical devices (highly regulated).
Dr. Julian Goldman of AAMI, co-chair of AAMI’s COVID-19 response team, notes: “Although they have talented engineers, many lack basic knowledge in this area, especially especially regarding patient safety. Once you show them that there are standards out there that can really help them quickly understand what needs to be considered for safety, it makes life easier for engineers and speeds up product development. They don’t have to ask for the same information over and over again. “
Image of announcement by AJ Mast for General Motors