Ventec Life Systems and GM to Mass Produce Ventilators

AutoInformed.com Ventec Life Systems and GM Partner to Mass Produce Critical Care VentilatorsVentec Life Systems announced today 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. (GM to Provide Logistical Support for Ventilator Production)

Under Trump Administration do-nothing policies that refused until this morning to invoke the Defense Production Act (while criticizing GM? Insiders say that GM was waiting for Government Agency approvals). There are  now and have been global back-orders of critical care ventilators capable of supporting patients fighting COVID-19. Nonetheless in spite of Trump and his courtiers politicizing the pandemic, 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 next week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day.

Critical Care Ventilators

“This unique partnership combines Ventec’s respiratory care expertise with GM’s manufacturing might to produce sophisticated and high-quality critical care ventilators,” said Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems. “This pandemic is unprecedented and so is this response, with incredible support from GM and its suppliers. Healthcare professionals on the front lines deserve the best tools to treat patients and precision critical care ventilators like VOCSN are what is necessary to save lives.”

Ventec and GM are working around the clock to meet the urgent need for more ventilators.  Efforts to set up tooling and manufacturing capacity at the GM Kokomo facility are already underway to produce Ventec’s critical care ventilator, VOCSN. Depending on the needs of the federal government, Ventec and GM are poised to deliver the first ventilators next month and ramp up to a manufacturing capacity of more than 10,000 critical care ventilators per month with the infrastructure and capability to scale further.

“We are proud to stand with other American companies and our skilled employees to meet the needs of this global pandemic,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. “This partnership has rallied the GM enterprise and our global supply base to support Ventec, and the teams are working together with incredible passion and commitment. I am proud of this partnership as we work together to address urgent and life-saving needs.”

GM will deploy an estimated 1,000 American workers to scale production of critical care ventilators immediately. Working with the UAW, GM has brought back employees from GM’s Kokomo and Marion facilities.

Since Friday 20 March, Ventec and GM teams across manufacturing, engineering, purchasing, legal and others have been tirelessly working together to create and implement a plan for immediate, scaled production of critical care ventilators. The Ventec and GM global supply base developed sourcing plans for the more than 700 individual parts that are needed to build up to 200,000 VOCSN.

“GM is in the position to help build more ventilators because of the remarkable performance of GM and Ventec’s global supply base,” added Barra. “Our joint teams have moved mountains to find real solutions to save lives and fight the pandemic.”

Ventec Life Systems claims a history of patient-centric design which includes more than 18 care-changing respiratory devices and more than 40 patents. Ventec’s leading product, VOCSN, is the first and only Multi-Function Ventilator and was FDA cleared in 2017.

VOCSN integrates five separate devices including a critical care ventilator, oxygen concentrator, cough assist, suction and nebulizer into a single portable device. VOCSN provides invasive and non-invasive ventilation across a set of modes and settings from the hospital to the home.

GM’s Kokomo facility supports the production of precision electrical components and is approximately 2.6 million square feet, located on more than 270 acres.

Level 1 Surgical Masks

In a separate effort, GM is expanding its support of medical equipment production by temporarily converting its Warren, Michigan plant to build Level 1 surgical masks. Production will begin next week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day. Daily mask production will be influenced by the availability of materials to build the masks.

The necessary machinery will be delivered to the Warren plant Friday morning and production of masks will begin next week.

GM says this employee-led initiative was created, planned and approved in about 48 hours and involves GM’s traditional supply base as well as new partnerships specific to the medical device industry. GM will be collaborating with governments and local suppliers to distribute the masks.

VOCSN, is the first and only Multi-Function Ventilator that seamlessly integrates five devices – a critical care Ventilator, 6 L/min equivalent Oxygen concentrator, touch button Cough assist, hospital grade Suction, and a high-performance Nebulizer – into one integrated respiratory system that is lightweight and mobile. VOCSN is fully customizable to meet patient needs for pediatric and adult patients. Learn more at VentecLife.com.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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3 Responses to Ventec Life Systems and GM to Mass Produce Ventilators

  1. 2020-03-27 – Ventec, GM and our supply base have been working around the clock for over a week to meet this urgent need. Our commitment to build Ventec’s high-quality critical care ventilator, VOCSN, has never wavered.

    The partnership between Ventec and GM combines global expertise in manufacturing quality and a joint commitment to safety to give medical professionals and patients access to life-saving technology as rapidly as possible. The entire GM team is proud to support this initiative.

  2. FactCheck says:

    FactCheck Posts
    Trump’s Premature Claim about Ventilator Production By D’Angelo Gore Posted on March 27, 2020

    In a March 21 press briefing, President Donald Trump prematurely declared that automakers, including Ford and General Motors, were manufacturing much needed ventilators “right now.”
    It wasn’t until nearly a week after the president’s claim that General Motors and Ventec Life Systems announced that the car company would begin retooling its manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana, to make “critical care ventilators” that could be ready to “ship as soon as next month.”

    Prior to that, GM had been working to produce or procure parts for Ventec to increase Ventec’s output of ventilators, and GM was only “exploring the feasibility to build ventilators” at one of its own facilities, a company spokesman told us.
    The CEO of Ford, meanwhile, has said recently that it could be May or June before Ford, which is partnering with another company that makes the lifesaving machines, begins to produce them in mass.

    The collaborations between the car makers and the medical device manufacturers came about as governors and health officials around the country have said that hospitals do not have enough ventilators for patients with COVID-19, which affects the respiratory system and can make it difficult for patients to breathe on their own.

    Many politicians have called on Trump to use the full force of the Defense Production Act of 1950, which gives the president the authority to compel private businesses in the U.S. to ramp up the production of necessary supplies during a national emergency. In addition to ventilators, hospitals treating an increasing number of patients with COVID-19 are also reportedly lacking essential supplies including respirators and protective gear, such as masks, gloves and gowns.

    But Trump has said that he has not needed to rely on the Defense Production Act because several companies have volunteered to help. And he has sometimes given the impression that car companies, in particular, have already started producing ventilators.
    In a March 21 press briefing with members of the White House coronavirus task force, for example, Trump said that GM and Ford were making ventilators “right now.”

    The following day, on Twitter, the president wrote: “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?”

    Trump’s tweet may have been a reference to the Food and Drug Administration recently deciding to temporarily relax some of the rules that companies have to follow when producing ventilators and other medical supplies. The FDA said the guidance was intended to “provide a policy to help expand the availability of ventilators as well as other respiratory devices and their accessories during this pandemic.”

    But Ford and GM have not started making ventilators yet, and just how “fast” they may be able to do so in the future remains to be seen.

  3. GM says:

    GM is actively training employees at the company’s Kokomo plant in the extensive screening, cleaning and other CDC-recommended procedures that will be in place when volume production of Ventec Life Systems’ critical care ventilator begins in less than two weeks.

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