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Foxconn To Start Making Ventilators In US

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iPhone assembler Foxconn, otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., is reportedly set to start manufacturing ventilators in the United States in partnership with medical device firm Medtronic plc., as the U.S. braces for the cornavirus (COVID-19) infection peak.

Taiwan-based Foxconn will start manufacturing ventilators at its Wisconsin factory in the U.S. within the next four to six weeks. The ventilators will be based on Medtronic's PB-560 design. The partnership was announced by Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak while speaking to CNBC.

In order to ramp up the global production of ventilators, Medtronic has recently shared the design specifications for its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) ventilator, free to be downloaded and used by other prospective manufacturers.

This move by Medtronic is expected to enable participants across industries to evaluate options for rapid ventilator manufacturing to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19.

PB 560 product and service manuals, design requirement documents, manufacturing documents, and schematics are now available at Medtronic.com/openventilator. The PB 560 design specifications are now available, with software code and other information following shortly.

The PB 560 ventilator is a compact, lightweight, and portable ventilator that provides airway support for both adults and children. It can be used in clinical settings and at home and provides mobile respiratory support.

Ventilators play a critical role in the management of patients with severe respiratory illness, such as COVID-19, who require assistance because they cannot breathe effectively. By placing a patient on a ventilator, the patient's lungs are permitted to rest and recover. Without ventilation support, some patients with severe respiratory disease might not survive.

Apart from helping other manufacturers, Medtronic also has plans to ramp up production at its own factories to reach the goal of producing 1,000 units per week by June end, with the production currently at 300 units per week. The shortage of ventilators has become a major concern among health professionals.

Other manufactures are also shifting to use their production lines to making ventilators. Tesla is said to be making a sub-component for Medtronic's PB-980 ventilators. It is also planning to produce ventilators at its Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York, reportedly teaming up with Medtronic.

Recently, automaker Ford teamed up with 3M and GE Healthcare to help increase production of 3M's powered air-purifying respirators for healthcare workers and GE Healthcare's ventilator by using their production Ford facilities, with plans to produce 50,000 ventilators in Michigan within the next 100 days.

General Motors is also lending a hand in making the critically required ventilators by partnering with another ventilator maker, Ventec Life Systems, to help increase Ventec's production using the automaker's facilities.

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