Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Arsenal of Democracy Part 2

During World War II, American manufacturing might turned from consumer goods to weapons of war, making America the great "arsenal of democracy."  U.S. companies made Sherman tanks faster than the Germans could destroy them.  Winning wars is about logistics. 

It is happening again.  Along With Wal-Mart and Amazon stepping up to the plate to hire 200,000+ workers, 3/24/20 Car & Driver:
The General Motors plant in Kokomo, Indiana, is gearing up to begin producing badly needed ventilators for hospitals, in a joint project with medical equipment maker Ventec. The plant currently builds small electrical components for cars. The goal is to start producing the ventilators in early April. 

Reuters reports, citing an email by GM's vice president of global purchasing, that the automaker has already sourced 95 percent of the parts needed for production and is currently looking to secure sources for the last 37 components it's still missing.
Spokesperson Dan Flores said that with GM’s support Ventec is planning on "exponentially higher ventilator production as fast as possible.”
When I worked for GenRad in the early 1980s, our CEO described visiting the GM plant at Kokomo, and his surprise at watching ICs being transported by conveyor belts.  GM does nothing small. 

1 comment:

Fidel said...

I find the media's near complete ignorance of the topics they write about to make their reports useless.

For instance, a similar story about similar efforts at Ford, clearly describes their making the blower unit for a PAPR - a Powered Air Purifying Respirator.


These are useful devices for health care workers: They blow filtered air around the face of a worker wearing a hood. The worker does not need to wear a mask, and breaths normally. This is not a ventilator, which blows a measured amount of air into a patients lungs via an endotracheal tube, while the patient is sedated....

Ventilators have to have controls for the pressure of the air going in, the pressure remaining on expiration, the volume of air, duration of inspiratory stroke, monitor air mixture (percentage of oxygen), have the ability to accomodate the administration of medicines, have alerts to failures (since the patient is unconscious, etc. They are complicated, and large, machines

A respirator is a mask, tightly fitted, that keeps particles out of a workers N95 mask, correctly worn, will stop 95% of particles 0.3 microns or larger in size..

A mask like a surgical mask simply reduces the amount of saliva that one spreads protects others, rather than the wearer.

Perhaps the government can create a nice picture, or pop-up book for the media explaining these differences.