U.S. Ventilator Manufacturers
One U.S. ventilator manufacturer was found to produce ventilators with most of the parts made in the U.S., Ventec Life Systems. GE Healthcare, Allied Healthcare, Hillrom Holdings (Breathe Technologies), and Vyaire Medical also produce ventilators in the U.S., but data on their supply chain and whether most components are manufactured in the U.S. were not found publicly, even after an in depth search of company websites, annual reports, and media sites.
Three practices that have been seen by U.S. ventilator manufacturers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are design licensing, partnerships with non-health companies to increase production, and the use of 3D printing to produce ventilator parts.
- Draeger is headquartered in Lubeck, Germany, and, in 2018, 19% of the company sales were in the U.S. According to the U.S. page of the company's website, there are three main offices in the U.S.: Telford, PA, Houston, TX, and Coppell, TX.
- A search of job opportunities in the U.S. did not find any manufacturing jobs available. However, there were job opportunities in many additional U.S. locations including New York, NY; Andover, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Indianapolis, IN; Beaumont, TX; Nashville, TN; Dallas, TX; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; Boston, MA; Chesapeake, VA; and Manassas, VA. For completeness, each of these locations was examined for any signs of a manufacturing plant.
- An examination of the Glassdoor site for employee reviews did not uncover any employees that worked in manufacturing in the U.S.
- Finally, an examination of the company's 2018 annual report did not provide any indication that there are manufacturing plants in the U.S.
- All evidence points to Draeger not manufacturing ventilators in the U.S.
Ventec Life Systems
- Ventec is headquartered in Bothell, WA in the U.S. There are 88 employees of the company on LinkedIn, and they are all in the U.S. The company's manufacturing facility is located in Bothell.
- An article on the partnership formed between Ventec and GM to produce ventilators indicates that Ventec currently has a global supply chain. The ventilators require over 700 individual parts, and there is no information on who the suppliers are.
- Cascadia Custom Molding makes about two dozen of the parts needed to build the ventilators. One of the key components made by Cascadia is the main chassis inside the machine. Cascadia is based in Woodinville, WA.
- Chris Brooks, Chief Strategy Officer, said that 80% of Ventec's suppliers are based in the U.S.
- GE manufactures its ventilators at its plant in Madison, WI. On the company's FAQ page for COVID-19, they indicate that they use global suppliers, but do not provide any specifics.
- GE is collaborating with General Motors (GM) to produce ventilators, and GM is tapping their suppliers to produce needed parts. Two of these suppliers are Meridan Lightweight Technologies Holdings and Twin City Die Castings, both located in Michigan. However, these are not GE's typical suppliers so it doesn't provide any information on GE's usual suppliers.
- Meditegic lists GE Healthcare as one of their clients for ventilator parts. However, Meditegic contracts with suppliers, rather than producing the parts themselves, and also touts a global supply chain. There is no way to know where specific parts are coming from.
- Around 2016, GE brought the production of ventilator valves in-house.
- Research was not able to determine what portion of GE's ventilator parts are produced in the U.S.
Allied Healthcare Products
- Allied Healthcare Products is headquartered in St. Louis, MO. The company has 111 employees on LinkedIn, and 62 of those employees are located in the greater St. Louis area. Based on this, and the fact that other locations only have 1-2 employees, it sees likely that the manufacturing facilities for the company are located in St. Louis.
- An examination of the company website did not uncover any details on suppliers, and a media search also was not successful in finding any supplier data. Most of the reporting related to Allied Health was related to them being one of few American manufacturers of ventilators. There was also a report that the CEO of Allied reported it would take the company at least 8 months to sharply increase production above the 1,000 they currently produce per year.
- The company's annual report was also examined to see if it would provide any details on suppliers. Other than a general statement on using a wide variety of suppliers, and a statement indicating that current supplier relationships were sufficient, there was no mention of who the suppliers are.
- According to the company website, Getinge Group has operations in 44 countries, but they do not specify what is done in each country.
- LinkedIn highlights four locations for the company, two of which are in the U.S. Getinge has an office/facility in Merrimack, NH, and in Wayne, NJ.
- Getinge has five manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Maquet Vascular Systems is in Merrimack, NH; Datascope Corporation is in Fairfield and Mahwah, NJ; Maquet Cardiovascular is in Wayne, NJ; and SteriTec Products is in Englewood, CO.
- Further research did not find any indication that the Marquet companies produce ventilators. Datascope produces cardiovascular devices, not ventilators, and SteriTec does not list ventilators as a product they produce in the U.S.
- All evidence points to Getinge not producing ventilators in the U.S.
- Hillrom manufacturers the Life2000 Ventilation System through its subsidiary Breathe Technologies. This is a portable ventilator.
- Breathe Technologies is based out of Irvine, CA. With no other locations provided for the company, it appears they manufacture their ventilators in the U.S.
- No publicly available information was found on who Breathe uses for suppliers. Most of the news found about the company related to it being bought by Hillrom. The company website provided details for healthcare providers and patients, but no specifics on the manufacturing process or suppliers.
- ResMed is headquartered in San Diego, CA. However, according to the CEO, the main facility that makes ventilators is in Shanghai. He did not mention ventilators being produced in the U.S. The CEO also mentioned that facilities in Singapore and Australia that usually produce sleep apnea devices have been switched to produce ventilators.
- Vyaire Medical has a ventilator factory in Palm Springs, CA.
- A company spokesman, Cheston Turbyfill, said that the biggest problem for the company in upping production is access to the needed parts. They get circuit boards and other electronic components from China and Malaysia.
- Of the eight companies examined Ventec Life Systems, GE Healthcare, Allied Healthcare, Hillrom Holdings (Breathe Technologies), and Vyaire Medical all manufacture ventilators in the U.S.
- As expected, supplier data for the companies was limited, but it was found that 80% of Ventec Life Systems' suppliers are based in the U.S.
- Airon Corp is a small company that produces three Airon Model A ventilators per day at its Florida manufacturing plant.
- The company licensed the design to Ford and GE Healthcare and those companies are partnering to produce up to 50,000 of the ventilators by July. Ford will also send engineers to the Airon facility to boost production.
- Medtronic is providing a permissive license for one of its ventilators. This license provides all "full design specifications, produce manuals, design documents and, in the future, software code," to anyone who wants to produce the ventilators. There are no fees required to Medtronic. However, their permissive license is only valid to address the coronavirus pandemic, and all rights end when the pandemic is over, or on 10/1 24, whichever comes first.
- A team from MIT is currently creating a design for a low-cost ventilator. The design will be available for free so anyone can manufacture the ventilators for free. The aim is for this to be a much less expensive option than a typical $30,000 ventilator. It is expected these ventilators can be made with $100 worth of parts.
3D Printing of Ventilator Parts
- The FDA, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Veterans Affairs will be working with America Makes to create designs and models to print medical supplies, including valves and other parts that are needed to produce ventilators.
- The FDA also published guidelines around the use of 3D printed devices and equipment to indicate that they may not provide the same level of protection as traditionally produced supplies. For parts, the FDA recommends that 3D printing companies work directly with ventilator manufacturers to ensure that the devices meet specifications and work as intended.
- Prisma Health developed a ventilator device that allows for a single ventilator to work for up to four patients at a time. The device gained emergency use authorization from the FDA and is produced using 3D printer technology.
- A team of doctors, engineers, and students at UC San Diego are collaborating to create simple ventilators that have some parts produced through 3D printing.
- Ventec Life Systems and GM are partnering to allow GM to produce ventilators at its Kokomo, In manufacturing plant. The plan is to be able to produce 10,000 ventilators per month, with capacity to scale further if necessary.
- Ford is partnering with GE to build simplified ventilators. The partnership team expects to be able to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days, starting on April 20. The ultimate goal is to produce 30,000 ventilators per month.