Which Manufacturers Are Making Ventilators?

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The coronavirus outbreak is putting huge amounts of strain on the UK’s National Health Service, with many hospitals inundated with patients in critical condition and needing ventilators in order to stay alive.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed in an interview that the UK only had 5,000 ventilators but needed “many more” (around 30,000) to cope with the rising cases and deaths each day. As such, discussions are taking place between the government and UK-based car manufacturers to begin production of these ventilators and other medical equipment, including face masks.

The appeal is a global effort by governments worldwide in order to fight COVID-19, and we’ve put together a list of every manufacturer which has answered the call.

Fiat

Italy has been one of the most hard-hit countries in the world for coronavirus deaths, with nearly 16,000 deaths the most of any other country.

Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has teamed up with Ferrari in approaching the biggest ventilator manufacturer in the country to boost production numbers of the machines.

Officials from Siare Engineering, the company which produces the ventilators, confirmed that two options were being considered:

  1. Support from technicians at FCA and Ferrari to engineer more ventilators at its plant.
  2. Outsource ventilator part production to both manufacturers’ factories.

A Fiat assembly point in China has been converted too so that it can begin making around one million face masks a month.

coronavirus

Ford

Ford ventilators
Image courtesy of Ford Media Centre.

Across the pond in America, there’s been a big push from the Ford Motor Company to cater for the massive increase in demand for ventilators.

Currently the US has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world, with over 300,000 people testing positive for COVID-19.

Despite its Michigan plant being one of the major factories to close its doors and halt production, it hopes to make 50,000 of the machines in the next 100 days.

Ventilators aren’t all the company is producing either. It has also begun producing and designing the following:

  • Around 75,000 transparent face shields in a week for hospital staff.
  • Designing modified respirators alongside ventilators using fans, batteries and other parts commonly used on its cars.

General Motors

General Motors (GM) is the giant behind the two biggest manufacturers in the US – Ford and Chevrolet.

Aside from the work already being done by Ford, parent company GM in Detroit is following suit by offering blueprints for face masks to 600 auto parts suppliers.

On top of this GM has also planned to start production of 10,000 ventilators per month for critical care units experiencing a shortage.

Tesla

One of the most innovative manufacturers of them all, Tesla, is making great headway in the race to produce ventilators.

The American manufacturer has already revealed a prototype ventilator which uses the same technology found in its flagship Model 3 vehicle.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is calling upon his space company SpaceX to make the components for medtronic ventilators. Factories for his electric car company will be used as spaces to produce them.

Key features of the ventilators include:

  • A touchscreen display that tracks the intake of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide.
  • The same computer system used in the Model 3.
  • A lithium-ion battery.
  • Compressors, pumps and tubes.
  • An oxygen mixing chamber.

Nissan

Nissan‘s Sunderland plant halted vehicle production for the foreseeable future at the end of March, but it has accepted a government request to make ventilators to support the NHS.

It’s the largest plant in the UK, employing 7,000 people and making the Juke, Qashqai and Leaf models.

While production of these ventilators hasn’t begun yet, we will update you with the further details once these are revealed.

‘Project Pitlane’

coronavirus ventilators
Image courtesy of Formula One YouTube channel.

A collection of seven UK-based Formula One (F1) teams are also helping to produce medical devices for combatting coronavirus.

The effort has been named ‘Project Pitlane’ and engineering work has already begun for ventilators.

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, BWT Racing Point F1 Team, McLaren F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Renault DP World F1 Team and ROKiT Williams Racing are all part of the scheme.

Seat

SEAT starts emergency ventilator production in Martorell
Credit: Seat

Emergency ventilator production began at Seat‘s Martorell facility (30km from Barcelona), where the Seat Leon is assembled, at the beginning of April.

The device being created has been released by the Spanish Agency of Medicine for clinic investigation, and the manufacturer’s aim is to reach 300 ventilators a day.

Vauxhall

Vauxhall has offered a 3D-printing service for creating ventilator parts at its Ellesmere Port plant.

Other manufacturers helping out

While not every manufacturer is being tasked with designing and producing ventilators, there are ways in which others are lending a hand in these trying times.

Rolls-Royce

Luxury British automaker Rolls-Royce is already using its impressive fleet of 30 limousines to deliver groceries and medical supplies to hospitals and local charities.

Jaguar Land Rover

coronavirus ventilators
Image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has loaned 160 vehicles to the British Red Cross and NHS for delivering medical supplies and food to the elderly. On top of this, it has used its 3D-printing expertise to produce 1,300 NHS-approved protective visors each week.

Most of those vehicles deployed by JLR are the formidable and spacious Defender SUV.

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