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GM plants to produce ventilators, surgical masks

Ventec Life Systems has announced that General Motors will build VOCSN critical care ventilators at GM’s Kokomo 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 its plant in Bothell, Wash.

There is a global backorder of critical care ventilators capable of supporting patients fighting COVID-19, and GM is contributing its resources at cost. GM will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Mich., 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.

“This unique partnership combines Ventec’s respiratory care expertise with GM’s manufacturing might to produce sophisticated and high-quality critical care ventilators,” Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems, said in a statement. “This pandemic is unprecedented and so is this response, with incredible support from GM and their 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,” stated 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. 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.

GM will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Mich., plant. 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. Production will begin next week will be influenced by the availability of materials to build the masks.

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