Parts suppliers for General Motors are preparing to manufacture parts for at least 200,000 ventilators because of a projected shortage of the machines in the fight against the deadly respiratory illness COVID-19.
Meridian Lightweight Technologies Holdings of Southfield, Michigan, is helping GM procure six different compressor parts made of magnesium for an estimated 200,000 ventilators, said Joe Petrillo, director of North American sales.
The parts are too small for Meridian's machines, but the company has connected GM with Twin City Die Castings in Minneapolis and Myotek, which operates manufacturing plants in Manistee, Michigan, and China.
"We coalesced as an industry," Petrillo said. "Usually we [Meridian, Twin City and Myotek] compete, but in this circumstance, we're not competitors."
The Society of Critical Care Medicine projects that 960,000 coronavirus patients may become critically ill in the U.S. and need to be put on ventilators. The organization estimates there are only about 200,000 ventilators in the country.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Friday the State Emergency Operations Center is working to find creative ways to bring more ventilators to Michigan. It's estimated the state has only 1,000 right now.
"We are working to see how we can increase the number of ventilators in our state," Whitmer said. "I feel like we are making some progress, but if the federal government is able to procure some ventilators and ship them to Michigan we will be incredibly grateful."
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday: "Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?"