Flex Ltd. sets goal of 30,000 ventilators a month
Silicon Valley-based Flex Ltd. has started mass assembly of critically needed ventilators to meet surging demand for the machines across the United States in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bloomberg is reporting that John Carlson, Flex’s head of medical solutions said the company expects to produce 25,000 to 30,000 ventilators a month by May or June. That number reflects the industry total typically produced in a year, but approximately one million of these machines are needed right now, Carlson said during an interview Friday. Also on Friday, the Governors of New York and New Jersey issued orders for unused ventilators to be relocated from medical facilities where they were being stored and sent to hospitals with patients who need them. Ventilators are typically made by medical-device companies, not the suppliers of parts to them, so the transition for Flex is daunting, but not impossible. Other manufacturers across the globe have been responding similarly, including car makers, though the extensive re-tooling of factories necessary for large-scale aid is a longer and more complicated process. One challenge slowing down the production of ventilators, the Bloomberg article stated, is the limited number of proprietary valves and tubes used in their production. Flex is responding to that reality by using alternate methods of production of those parts, such as 3-D printing, Carlson said.