Airbus and Ford say they can make more ventilators if UK ups order

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A group of companies, including Airbus and Ford, could make more than the current government order of 20,000 ventilators and keep making once normal operations begin to restart, the head of the project informed Reuters on Tuesday.

Several engineering, aerospace, automotive and Formula One companies have joined each other to produce the equipment in order to make more than 1,500 per week.

Governments across the world are attempting to increase the number of available mechanical breathing devices that can supply air and oxygen, important for the care of people who suffer lung failure, which can be a complication of COVID-19 coronavirus.

“We have the ability to produce more if demanded. We’ve got production capacity,” stated Dick Elsy, who leads the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium.

Ford’s Dagenham plant is testing and assembling some parts, Airbus is using its Welsh Broughton site, which builds wings for commercial aircraft, for the sub-assembly of absorbers and flow machines, while McLaren is making trolleys on which the devices are fixed.

Ford has fitted out an empty warehouse whilst Elsy stated Airbus is using a repurposed research capability site.

“We’ve deliberately selected those facilities to be not critically dependent on the return to work,” he informed Reuters.

The group of companies are not making a profit and have increased production of two ventilators from medical device firms Penlon and Smiths as the fastest way to produce “clinically effective and safe” devices, said Elsy.

The consortium’s work stems from a call to arms by government more than a month ago, hoping that companies can help increase the production of medical devices, hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment like masks and gowns.

About 129,044 people in the UK have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 17,337 people in the country.

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