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Toyota motors will be supplying ventilators and masks to the COVID-19 hit United states hospitals and its personnel, which are facing an acute shortage of medical equipment to deal with the pandemic. There are already 142,735 infected cases in the United States with over 2500 deaths.
Toyota will be printing 3D face shields. The mass production will begin this week, and hospitals in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Texas will be receiving the first batches. Mercedes as well will be manufacturing medical equipment on their 3D printers. The company’s production and supply chain head, Jörg Burzer, said: “With our highly competent team and years of experience in 3D printing technology, we are ready to make our contribution to the production of medical devices.”
It is not easy to produce ventilators without the help of specialty companies as they are complex machines and need to select parts to manufacture. Toyota has the capacity to produce masks but needs a partner to make ventilators as it does not have the capabilities. It has finalized agreements with two companies to increase the production of ventilators and respirators.
Toyota has donated masks, safety glasses, and gloves to hospital workers and personnel. They are helping out food banks, which are overwhelmed already with more than 3 million workers out of jobs due to the closure of businesses and workplaces. It is even helping out some schools with free launches for students in Alabama.
General Motors and Ford have already committed to supplying masks and ventilators. Ford is looking to providing full-face masks for first responders and medical workers.
US auto companies are also looking at ventilator manufacturers to team up in productions. Ford and GM are also exploring producing ventilators in their own factories.
But the companies are racing against time as the number of infected patients is increasing by the day and the medical fraternity fears that they will soon be facing an Italy like situation.
A New York Post report says there are roughly 160,000 ventilators with an additional 12,700 in reserve. The American Hospital Association estimates 960,000 people will need them over the course of the pandemic. ”The number of ventilators we need is so astronomical,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, adding that hospitals have resorted to using experimental solutions, such as putting two patients on one machine.
Vice President of Medtronics, a company manufacturing hospital equipment, says that manufacturing ventilators is not an easy task and is best left to the experts as it is sophisticated equipment needing the expertise to run it in hospitals even. “Because this is a lifesaving device, it can’t be off. Practice and experience making the parts is really, really critical,” Jamali said.
Medtronic has ramped up production from 40 percent in January to 200 percent no and will be producing 500 ventilators per week now with 24-hours work shifts.
To increase production, Medtronics is ready to work with the automobile manufacturers. It is already in talks with Ford and Tesla. President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to require GM to “accept, perform, and prioritize” federal contracts for ventilators. General Motors is collaborating with Ventec Life Systems to make ventilators to meet the shortage that the United States is facing amid the coronavirus spread.
“With GM’s help, Ventec will increase ventilator production,” said Chris Kiple, Ventec Life Systems CEO. “By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster. This partnership will help save lives.”
GM will provide help in logistics, purchasing, and manufacturing capacities to ramp up their production effort to build and supply more ventilators.
“We are working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production of their critically important respiratory products to support our country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO in a statement posted on the company’s website. “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis.”