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Xerox to make disposable ventilators in Webster

The ventilator that Xerox and Vortran will manufacture.
The ventilator that Xerox and Vortran will manufacture.

Xerox is teaming up with a California-based medical technology company to speed up production of ventilators, which have been in great demand in the effort to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

Some of the ventilators will be manufactured at Xerox’s Webster campus.  It is working with Vortran Medical Technology, which will continue to make ventilators at Vortran's facility in Sacramento.

The two companies expect to work together to quickly respond to the shortage of critical ventilation equipment necessary to support patients' breathing. The two companies said that they will be rapidly scaling up production from approximately 40,000 ventilators in April to between 150,000 and 200,000 ventilators a month by June. Together, officials said that Xerox and Vortran could produce as many as 1 million ventilators in the coming months.

The machine, called a GO2Vent, is not a replacement for the type of ventilators used in hospital ICUs, but is used in emergency situations and company officials say tools like this are being used to support patients who do not yet or no longer need an ICU-level breathing device, which can be freed up for another patient.   

“Our smartest minds met (virtually) with Vortran’s smartest minds and figured out how to mass produce this critical technology,” said John Visentin, vice chairman and chief executive officer, Xerox. “We want to help make sure doctors, nurses and paramedics on the frontlines have the resources they need to help the rising number of patients with COVID-19.”

The companies describe the device as, “A gas-operated, disposable ventilator that can be set-up within minutes and discarded after use by a single patient.”

Mary Fromm, Xerox’s  vice president of global manufacturing and sourcing, said the decision to support this ventilator manufacturing is something that has been a point of pride for a lot of Xerox employees in Webster.

“I’ve received so many emails today from people around the company who are just so proud,” Fromm said. "I got an email from someone in the Netherlands this morning; somebody in our Webster operation who I didn’t even realize would be interested in this, who are all just expressing heartfelt excitement and pride that Xerox is getting involved in this and wanting to know how they can help."

Fromm expects the Webster manufacturing of the ventilators to continue into the summer. She also said that the company will be able to do this work while also maintaining their current manufacturing needs for printers, consumables and continuing to support existing customers.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.