GE ramps up US ventilator production, warns of component shortages

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The company is hiring additional manufacturing staff and shifting current employees to support increased demand for ventilator production in Madison, Wisconsin.

“As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators. We continue to explore all options to support this increased need. Direct actions we are taking include  adding manufacturing lines to ventilator production and increasing the number of shifts to produce around the clock, as well as managing our supply chain by working with suppliers to mitigate shortages and minimize impact on our customers globally,” said Kieran Murphy, President & CEO of GE Healthcare.

Components such as the high reliability MLCC ceramic capacitors used in medical designs have been in short supply even before the outbreak.

“To help address this global challenge, we have increased our manufacturing capacity and output of equipment – including CTs, ultrasound devices, mobile X-ray systems, patient monitors and ventilators – important in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients, while taking steps to ensure safe operations for our employees,” he added. 

Increasing production of existing qualifed designs is a key requirement, as one of the issues with non-qualified ventilators is the risk of injury. GE points out that 24 per cent of all patients mechanically ventilated will develop Ventilator Induced Lung Injury for reasons other than acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

“The lung is a delicate and highly sensitive structure” said Dr Marc Wysocki, Medical Director at GE Healthcare based in France. “Patients affected by lung disease are highly susceptible to ventilation-associated lung injury, and mechanical ventilation can be detrimental if too much volume or pressure is delivered.”


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