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Background and Identification
Air Liquide (literally “liquid air” in French) is a French supplier of industrial gases and services to a variety of industries, including medical, chemical, and electronic manufacturers. In the healthcare sector, Air Liquide provides medically prescribed home and hospital treatments for patients suffering from chronic illnesses, sleep apnea, or diabetes. Air Liquide also provides hygiene and disinfection solutions and sterilization of surgical instruments.
A ventilator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of a person’s lungs to deliver breaths to a patient who is breathing insufficiently or physically unable to breathe. Modern ventilators are computerized microprocessor-controlled machines that are primarily used in intensive care medicine, home care, emergency medicine, and anesthesiology. Ventilators are sometimes called “respirators,” though medical terminology uses the word “respirator” to refer to a protective face-mask.
Beginning in 2020, Air Liquide and several other medical suppliers were asked by the French Health Department to produce ventilators for intensive care units due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Air Liquide, Groupe PSA, Schneider Electric, and Valeo were challenged to produce 10,000 Air Liquide Medical Systems (ALMS) ventilators between April and mid-May in 2020. 85 percent of the ventilators produced by Air Liquide is primarily intended for short-term use.