Foxconn will make ventilators at its Wisconsin plant


Foxconn will make ventilators in Wisconsin.

SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Foxconn is partnering with medical device company Medtronic to produce ventilators at its controversial Wisconsin plant, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC, during the coronavirus outbreak. He noted that the factory will hopefully make the lifesaving devices — based on its open-sourced PB-560 design — in the next four to six weeks.

The Taiwan-based electronics maker, which is best known for assembling Apple’s iPhone, confirmed to Reuters that both companies’ medical and technical personnel were working together on the project.

It isn’t the only company pivoting to ventilator production as the pandemic creates a shortage. Electric car company Tesla is making a component of a different Medtronic ventilator at its New York factory and prototyped a device that uses Model 3 parts, General Motors is working with ventilator company Ventec Life Systems to increase production in Indiana and vacuum-maker Dyson has an order with the UK’s National Health Service for 10,000 of its newly designed “CoVent” systems.

The new strain of coronavirus, which can develop into a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December and has spread worldwide in the months since. As of Wednesday morning, it had infected more than 1.4 million people and caused over 83,000 deaths globally.

Foxconn’s factory at the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park was meant to produce LCD screens when it opened in May, but Gov. Tony Evers tempered expectations about the number of jobs it’d create last summer. The Democrat inherited the deal from Republican predecessor Scott Walker, who helped woo Foxconn to Wisconsin with the largest incentive in state history.

Neither Foxconn nor Medtronic responded to requests for comment.

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