Automakers consider re-tooling plants for Ventilator machines.

mmcartalk

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Since this thread potentially involves automakers, but not vehicles directly, I wasn't sure whether to post it in Garage or one of the other forums......the moderators can move it if or as they see fit.

Ford, GM, Tesla, FCA, and possibly several other automakers are in consultations with President Trump and the White House on the question of re-tooling American plants for the production of ventilator machines, which are important in the treatment of virus and respiratory-victims.

This is one reason (among many) why I have made so many posts and threads in the past about the importance of not shutting down plants and/or transferring jobs overseas. There is currently a national shortage of these ventilators, and auto plants, with their huge size, with the proper tooling and employee-skills, can produce a lot of things in a hurry. That was one of the big factors, of course, that helped us win World War II 75-80 years ago....and furnish our Allies with help and equipment that THEY needed.

Of course, like with WWII, that could (?) temporarily produce a shortage a new vehicles, but, with a lot of people already staying at home most of the time and not shopping, there might not be a big demand for new vehicles for some time anyway.....might as well put the factory space to good use in this national emergency.

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronav...ke-ventilators

https://abcnews.go.com/Business/auto...ry?id=69689489

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...rs-coronavirus
 

Sulu

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I wonder how easy and effective and quickly it would be to convert a moving assembly line, designed to build LARGE products, to build SMALL, finely-detailed medical instruments. Small items are not assembled on moving assembly lines.

I believe that a better candidate for conversion would an autoparts manufacturer, especially one that already builds small, finely-detailed, high-technology electronics products, like display monitors or ECUs (electronic control units). These factories would have the special benches upon which small electronics components are built.
 

mmcartalk

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I wonder how easy and effective and quickly it would be to convert a moving assembly line, designed to build LARGE products, to build SMALL, finely-detailed medical instruments. Small items are not assembled on moving assembly lines.

I believe that a better candidate for conversion would an autoparts manufacturer, especially one that already builds small, finely-detailed, high-technology electronics products, like display monitors or ECUs (electronic control units). These factories would have the special benches upon which small electronics components are built.

Well, you might have a point. They are looking into a similar program in the UK, but running into some snags.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/car-...rs-ventilators
 

Joaquin Ruhi

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Sulu

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There are two factors that make it difficult for an automaker, an autoparts supplier or any other non-medical device manufacturer from building medical devices such as ventilators. I had forgotten these factors (even though I have worked in the industry before).

They are the presence of product requirements, including safety requirements, that are unique to medical devices; and the authorization and certification ("licence to produce") of medical device companies.

Certain medical devices, including critical and contact items such as ventilators, have unique safety and build requirements. Manufacturers that do not build medical devices will not be aware of these requirements. One requirement is a cleanroom. An automotive assembly line is not going to have such a facility and it is neither an easy nor cheap item to build.

The other is a requirement for an authorization by a national regulatory authority (Health Canada in Canada and the Food and Drug Administration in the USA) to build medical devices. An automaker or autoparts supplier that does not already build medical devices will not possess such an authorization.

If automakers and autoparts suppliers want to help, I believe that they may be able to help (but I am not an authority) with logistics, providing transportation and warehousing, or help with the supply chain; but final building of the devices will have to remain under the authority of medical device manufacturers.
 

Ian Schmidt

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Right. There was an excellent Twitter thread after the fake story about people being sued for 3D printing ventilator parts blew up. It was by an engineer who works in the medical field about all of the regulatory and safety requirements they have to meet, which inevitably makes everything expensive.
 

Joaquin Ruhi

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Sulu

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Here are two more related stories.

As GM races to help build ventilators, FEMA balks and Trump sends mixed signals
The New York Times broke the story Thursday night, reporting that President Trump had been set to make an announcement about the joint venture Wednesday when the event was abruptly scrapped. The reason? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) decided it needed more time to weigh the reported $1.5 billion price tag, including paying GM several hundred million dollars up front to retool an electronic parts plant in Kokomo, Ind., where as many as 200,000 Ventec-designed ventilators would be built.

Toyota to produce masks and face shields to fight coronavirus in U.S.
Toyota says it’s currently ready to produce masks, but it’s currently seeking partners for filters. The face shields are being 3-D printed now, but mass production is scheduled to kick off next week. These masks are scheduled to be delivered to hospitals in Texas, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. The ventilator support isn’t as robust as Ford’s and GM’s intentions to actually produce the machines. Instead, Toyota plans on working with other companies to help increase their production capacity.

The Toyota Production System Support Center is offering its “manufacturing/engineering know-how support to companies to increase their capacity for necessary medical and equipment.” It’s also helping to support communities in organizing efficient drive-through testing.
 

mikeavelli

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GM was already working on respirators. The issue was, they told the government the price and they balked. Even as GM said we are selling it at cost. Then Trump turned it into his usual twitter childish moaning and attacking their female CEO.

Also for a "businessman" he has no clue how a business works. It takes weeks/months to re-tool, train etc to learn a completely different product to what you usually make.
 

Will1991

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Seat did quite well this adaptation, even the way they have done it. It's a automated manual breather (don't know how to call it), and this way it's already homologated for clinical use.

KISS, keep it simple stupid

Congrats on SEAT!
 
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