In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Medtronic plc is ramping up its ventilator production by more than 40%. In fact, company officials say Medtronic is on track to more than double its capacity to manufacture and supply ventilators in response to the urgent needs of patients and healthcare systems across the globe.

Ventilator manufacturing is a complex process that relies on a skilled workforce, a global supply chain, and a rigorous regulatory regime to ensure patient safety, Medtronic officials say. In the company’s Ireland ventilator manufacturing facility, Medtronic currently has more than 250 employees dedicated to ventilator manufacturing and plans to more than double that number, including transferring staff from other Medtronic sites to support ramp up activities. 

Additional manufacturing shifts have been put in place and new manufacturing shift patterns are being introduced to bring the plant to 24/7 operation. Moreover, Medtronic is prioritizing high-risk/high-needs areas for ventilator allocation on a weekly basis for global distribution through its supply chain. 

“Medtronic recognizes the demand for ventilators in this environment has far outstripped supply,” says Bob White, executive vice president and president of the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group at Medtronic. “No single company will be able to fill the current demands of global healthcare systems. However, with all manufacturers increasing their production and through partnerships with governments, hospitals and global health organizations, Medtronic is committed to getting more ventilators into the market and to the right locations in the world to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19.”

Medtronic may be getting help from an unlikely ally: Elon Musk. In a tweet issued on March 21, the Tesla founded wrote: “Just had a long engineering discussion with Medtronic about state-of-the-art ventilators! Very impressive team.”

Auto maker GM is also mulling retooling its production lines to manufacturer ventilators and other critical medical equipment.