GM, Ventec Life Systems Partner to Mass Produce Ventilators in Response to COVID-19 Virus

Ventec Life Systems of Washington state today announced that Detroit’s General Motors Co. will build VOCSN critical care ventilators at its Kokomo, Ind. manufacturing facility with FDA-cleared ventilators scheduled to ship as soon as next month.
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GM will begin to build Ventec Life Systems ventilators at its Kokomo, Ind. manufacturing facility. // Photo courtesy of General Motors Co.

Ventec Life Systems of Washington state today announced that Detroit’s General Motors Co. will build VOCSN critical care ventilators at its Kokomo, Ind. manufacturing facility with FDA-cleared ventilators scheduled to ship as soon as next month.

The effort is in addition to Ventec taking steps to ramp up production at its manufacturing facility in Bothell, Wash.

Currently, there is a global backorder across all manufacturers of critical care ventilators capable of supporting patients fighting COVID-19. Companies are adding thousands of units of new capacity with a significantly expanded supply chain capable of supporting high volume production. GM is donating its resources at cost.

GM also will begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at a manufacturing facility in Warren. 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.

Ventec and GM say they 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 already are 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,” says Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of GM. “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.

“This unique partnership combines Ventec’s respiratory care expertise with GM’s manufacturing might to produce sophisticated and high-quality critical care ventilators,” says Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems. “This pandemic is unprecedented and so is the 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.”

Since Friday, March 20, Ventec and GM teams across manufacturing, engineering, purchasing, legal, and others have been 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.

The Ventec Life Systems team has 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 seamlessly 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 comprehensive set of modes and settings throughout the care continuum 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.

This partnership 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.

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.

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.

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