Woodward Governor, Fort Collins, Colo. Chad Collins / BizWest

Woodward pivots to ventilator production

Editor’s note: As a public service, BizWest is making all of its coverage of the COVID-19 virus free to read. Please consider subscribing to BizWest to support our efforts to keep you informed on Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley’s top business news.

FORT COLLINS — Aerospace parts producer Woodward Inc. (Nasdaq: WWD) is shifting production to ventilators in the coming days as demand for airplane parts is grounded worldwide.

Company spokeswoman Julie James said the Fort Collins company partnered with Colorado State University to start the approval process of the machines with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

James said it’s too early in the process to determine how many ventilators Woodward could produce per day, or how quickly they could be used in hospitals.

Ventilators are used to help patients with respiratory symptoms breathe regularly. Companies across Colorado and the U.S. are attempting to shift production to respond to government and public health officials saying the rise of COVID-19 cases is vastly overwhelming the current supply of ventilators and putting patients at risk of death.

Woodward’s announcement comes a day after it and advanced materials maker Hexcel Corp. (NYSE: HXL) ended their $6.3 billion merger of equals, citing the economic volatility caused by the novel coronavirus. Woodward also said it plans to reduce spending to day-to-day business operations and reduce a yet-to-be-determined number of employees through layoffs and furloughs.

In previous weeks, it has laid off about 150 contract workers.