On Apr 8, HHS contracted GM to produce 30,000 ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile at a cost of $489.4 million, according to the agency. The contract was the first for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act.
According to GM, more than 600 ventilators will be shipped in April, almost half the order will be filled by the end of June and the full order will be completed by August 30, 2020, with the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed.
“Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo [Indiana] community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work.”
“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. “This partnership is an historic effort and a great reminder of what can be accomplished with the power of American innovation and American manufacturing skill uniting together around a singular mission to save lives.”
The effort involved sourcing hundreds of parts and assemblies from suppliers; the design of a new manufacturing process; the transformation of GM’s Kokomo factory; the ongoing hiring of more than 1,000 manufacturing team members; and the implementation of extensive health and safety protocols in the workplace.
According to GM, a strong sense of urgency was present from the beginning:
- Mar 17-18: GM and Ventec executives had their first conference calls on ventilator production
- Mar 19: A GM team flew to Seattle to meet with the Ventec team
- Mar 20: GM engaged its global supply base and within 72 hours, they had developed plans to source 100% of the necessary parts
- Mar 25: UAW crews began preparing the Kokomo, Indiana site for production after the UAW’s national and local leadership embraced the project
- Apr 8: HHS awarded GM a contract under the Defense Production Act to build 30,000 Ventec V+Pro critical care ventilators
More information is available on the companies’ new website: www.VentecGM.com.
Lead image: Photo by AJ Mast for General Motors. Workers build the first production ventilators at the General Motors manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana, Monday, April 13, 2020. GM and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to produce VOCSN critical care ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.