(QCOSTARICA) The Ford Motor Company transformed one of its production lines to become an assembler of artificial ventilators for intensive care patients by covid-19. To help in this manufacturing, the company looked to a company in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
The automotive giant contacted Microtechnologies Costa Rica, located in El Coyol, to manufacture key components for the ventilators.
In the most severe cases of covid-19, a patient’s lungs become inflamed and filled with so much fluid that they fail to supply enough oxygen to the bloodstream to keep the person alive.
One way to counter this deficiency is with a ventilator: a device that helps the patient’s lungs do their job while the rest of the body fights the virus.
The parts that will be manufactured in Costa Rica are called pressure and vacuum switches, a kind of mechanical diaphragm pushed at a pressure of 25 pounds per square inch (psi).
The switches fulfill a critical function for the correct operation of the ventilator.
Specifically, they verify that the inlet pressure of the compressed air into the ventilator is optimal and exact, thereby ensuring the correct operation of the device, which then injects an adequate oxygen supply into the patient’s lungs.
About 100,000 of these pieces will be produced in Costa Rica thanks to team of 350 Costa Ricans dedicated to the design and production of the same. To date, workers have already delivered nearly 20,000 of these components and plan to complete the remaining components in the coming weeks.
Daniel Araya, director of sales for Microtechnologies Costa Rica, explained that the first contact with Ford occurred on March 27 and, by March 30, company began their work at full speed.
The first export of parts was precisely a week later, on April 6.
Araya added that the entire order is to be completed in the first week of June with all components created at the Coyol plant bound for the Ford factory located in Ypsilanti, a town in Washtenaw County, Michigan.
Depending on the behavior of the disease in the United States, Araya anticipates that they could receive another order from Ford, but his hope is that it won’t be case.
“We take on this challenge with a great sense of responsibility as appropriate in this business of manufacturing critical components, but also with a greater sense of urgency, as we know that our work contributes to saving lives,” explained Araya.
The company has been in Costa Rica for 22 years and is internationally recognized as a manufacturer of innovative solutions for other manufacturers in industries such as automotive, medical device, aerospace and others with high demands on the type of parts required for their equipment.
From Alajuela, Costa Ricans design new materials, create prototypes of parts and tools, highly complex automated assembly lines; perform part validation and run scale production of precision metal components.
Their work is so specialized that they even assemble wires made of precious metals and precision switches and sensors; among others.
On March 24, Ford reported that it was working with General Electric Healthcare to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design, to help patients with respiratory failure or shortness of breath caused by covid-19. .
“We are encouraged by how quickly companies from across industries have mobilized to address the growing challenge we collectively face from COVID-19,” said GE Healthcare President & CEO Kieran Murphy.
“We are proud to bring our clinical and technical expertise to this collaboration with Ford, working together to serve unprecedented demand for this life-saving technology and urgently support customers as they meet patient needs,” added Murphy, cited in a statement from Ford.