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COVID 19: Manufacture of ventilators and other medical equipment
Here in the UK, there has been an overwhelming response to the Government’s request for ventilators with over 3,000 organisations and individuals responding to the call.

This concerted effort to mobilise the required number of ventilators, including but not limited to, ramping up production at existing ventilator manufacturers, sourcing alternative models and developing new, easy to manufacture models is rapidly gathering pace with the very latest position reported in today’s FT.

Currently, the NHS has access to 8,000 ventilators but it’s anticipated that some 30,000 units will be required in the coming weeks.

This then has been our national experience, but how are other nation states coping?

How are different countries addressing the supply of ventilators and other essential medical equipment? What's been the international experience? 

May this global crisis inspire us all to reach out and discover how our shared experience and understanding can benefit all our communities.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and any experiences you may have on this?
14 Replies
As you may have seen in the media, the Government today announced a contract awarded to Dyson for the supply and manufacture of 10,000 ventilators ... as reported in today's FT ...

Dyson plans to manufacture 15,000 medical ventilators designed from scratch, following a call from the prime minister for British industry to supply the National Health Service with equipment to fight coronavirus.  The appliances maker told staff it had received a UK government order for 10,000 of the devices and aims to begin delivering them “in weeks”, contingent on regulatory approval it expects to obtain on Friday. Billionaire founder Sir James Dyson is to pay for a further 5,000 to be made, of which 4,000 will be donated to other countries.  Ventilators support patients with acute respiratory difficulties, which occurs in severe cases of the Covid-19 virus that has now killed more than 450 people in Britain.  The NHS has access to 8,175 ventilators but the government has indicated that 60,000 are needed in total, up from a previous estimate of 30,000, according to one person involved in the procurement process. The shortfall is difficult to plug because the UK is not a major manufacturer of the equipment.  As countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak scramble to source the life-saving machines, companies from the automotive, aerospace and engineering sectors have been working on various plans, including another “clean sheet” blueprint by Meggitt, the aircraft parts maker.  Recommended LexUK manufacturing Ventilators/UK industry: command performance Premium Dyson’s CoVent model was developed in 10 days in conjunction with The Technology Partnership, a medical devices company based in Cambridge. The vacuum company declined to disclose the financial arrangements of the government deal, though it said it does not expect to make a profit on the ventilators.  In an email to staff seen by the Financial Times, Sir James wrote: “This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume. It is designed to address the specific clinical needs of Covid-19 patients, and it is suited to a variety of clinical settings.  “The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production.”  The government said it had received an overwhelming response from businesses. It is now testing proof of concepts from a number of suppliers with the support of clinicians, though any orders are dependent on machines passing regulatory tests.  Dyson, known for its floor cleaners, hair dryers and air purifiers, is looking to assemble the ventilators at its research centre at Hullavington, Wiltshire, located on the site of a former Royal Air Force base. They will contain Dyson motors that are made in Singapore, where the company was planning to manufacture an electric car until the programme was scrapped last year. Dyson’s other products are made in Asia.  Ministers have already given the green light to an aerospace-automotive consortium, called Ventilator Challenge UK, to accelerate production of two existing machines that are made domestically, subject to regulatory approval. One is a transport ventilator produced in Luton by Smiths Group, which is typically deployed in ambulances. It is quadrupling output to about 200 to 300 a week, with the possibility of expanding production at factories owned by GKN and Airbus. The other model, made by Penlon in Oxfordshire, will be modified for use on more acute patients.   
whjohnson
307 Posts
Simplest Ventilator Prototype? | 555 timer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqRgISFuE0k
Thanks for sharing whjohnson! The full MHRA brief that AvE uses for his marvelous Jankee Vent Mk III creation featured in his YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqRgISFuE0k can be found at
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876167/RMVS001_v3.1.pdf
LeeT
1 Posts
Hi All,

I hope you are all keeping healthy and well during these challenging times.

We (Yokogawa), are GOV.UK approved to supply testing instruments to manufacturers of ventilators. I have put together the attached presentation which I am happy for all to see. It shows three products - Manometer, Pressure Calibrator and Power Analyser.

These products will support manufacturers by offering high precision accuracy and support in meeting/exceeding the MHRA standards:(https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876167/RMVS001_v3.1.pdf

Many thanks,

Lee
Alan
For information (and possible call for help), amongst the myriad of designs and ideas on the web is the Field Ventilator Project (www.fieldventilator.com) which has spun out of a DFID call for low-cost rapid manufacture ventilators for developing countries.  This is being developed into a prototype system for testing at NPL later this week by several IET Fellows who are Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Engineers with help and clinical advice from UCL, Staffs University, and other engineering companies and regulatory lawyers.

The aim is to be low cost and manufacturable in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Peru and India, useable in places where oxgen and electrical supplies may be sparse, and useable for other situations where ventilators can help patients, eg in childbirth.  

Offers for help please via the www.fieldventilator.com website
Barry
Simplistic CPAP / BiPAP / APAP ventilators being proposed by enthusiastic engineers are useless for anything but Ambulanant use for those lightly affected.
Many such devices costing less than $500 are in regular use in USA and Europe by patients for sleep related apnoea.

Mechanical ventilators that Force Oxygen rich air into collapsed lungs ARE WHAT THE NHS needs.to augment the poor stock of 8000 medical grade Ventilators. NOT biPAP/ PAP simple copies.
Such designs have to provide for pressure regulations and monitoring that these simplistic devices just cannot provide.

Please bring this to the attention of those who go down the wrong alley.

Elon Musk DONATEd 1000 such ineffectual ventilators that do not solve the problem

IET Engineers and Fellows should consult PROFESSIONAL VENTILATOR DESIGN / USE AND REPAIR Manuals to discover a good reproducible design that can be copied by professional engineering parts  manufacturers.
Members could provide precision Assembly & Test / Commissioning.
Re furbishment should only be attempted by qualified companies able to respond to sanitisation / Isolation requirements.

 
Press Release attached.

Developed in conjunction with Dr Chandra Bhimarasetty, Consultant Anaethetist who works at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham.

Tim Lightfoot
Kesslers
07712 854728
The two ventilators specified by the government have the virtue of being simple, probably already in use (no training) , not requiring any electrical connection and operating via the hospital sterile air/oxygen supply or other regulated tank supply. . These are the Nuffield and the Smiths. They do however have a very crude method of setting the inspiration/expiration time interval, filling a cavity via a needle valve, electronics would be more accurate. The ones I have looked at provide for a manometer to be attached so pressure can be set. As far as I can gather ventilation is a last resort and most patients are given oxygen.
Tatenda
3 Posts
Hi LeeT

Can I contact you regarding ventilator spares? My email ttzvingoww@gmail.com
How about updating this ...
1) The requirement for 30,000 ventilators was mitigated by other action (Lockdown and Improved treatment). They now have enough ventilators.
2) The additional ventilators obtained were obtained by increasing the manufacturing capacity of existing suppliers.
3) Dysons order was never an order, but a statement of intent.
4) The idea that it would be possible for a company that has not been involved in this sort of thing before, to design a ventilator and get it approved in short order, and for it to be produced in quantities of ~10,000 within a period of months ... was always a non-starter! This shows a total failure of everybody involved to appreciate the complexity of even the simplest engineered products.
5) The knee-jerk reaction of the media, which seems to think that any identified problem can be solved by mobilising a public campaeign. Despite the unpopularity of this, somethings need experience, brains and time ... and cannot be made short-time by parallel enthusiasm. (Checkout Gestation)
It would be interesting to design and make a ventilator similar to the simple Nuffield or Smiths. This could be augmented by an add on laptop running suitable software. However insurance and the avoidance of litigation is a huge problem. No wonder not many companies have taken up the challenge.
KSharpe
8 Posts
Rasik Thanky:
Simplistic CPAP / BiPAP / APAP ventilators being proposed by enthusiastic engineers are useless for anything but Ambulanant use for those lightly affected.
Many such devices costing less than $500 are in regular use in USA and Europe by patients for sleep related apnoea.

Mechanical ventilators that Force Oxygen rich air into collapsed lungs ARE WHAT THE NHS needs.to augment the poor stock of 8000 medical grade Ventilators. NOT biPAP/ PAP simple copies.
Such designs have to provide for pressure regulations and monitoring that these simplistic devices just cannot provide.

Please bring this to the attention of those who go down the wrong alley.

Elon Musk DONATEd 1000 such ineffectual ventilators that do not solve the problem

IET Engineers and Fellows should consult PROFESSIONAL VENTILATOR DESIGN / USE AND REPAIR Manuals to discover a good reproducible design that can be copied by professional engineering parts  manufacturers.
Members could provide precision Assembly & Test / Commissioning.
Re furbishment should only be attempted by qualified companies able to respond to sanitisation / Isolation requirements.

 

Many thanks Rasik, you're absolutely correct to point this out - please be assured that we have been referring volunteers to the government's published specifications.

Best wishes,

Kate-Zillah Sharpe
Devolved Nations Lead, IET

KSharpe
8 Posts
Barry Brooks:
Alan
For information (and possible call for help), amongst the myriad of designs and ideas on the web is the Field Ventilator Project (www.fieldventilator.com) which has spun out of a DFID call for low-cost rapid manufacture ventilators for developing countries.  This is being developed into a prototype system for testing at NPL later this week by several IET Fellows who are Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Engineers with help and clinical advice from UCL, Staffs University, and other engineering companies and regulatory lawyers.

The aim is to be low cost and manufacturable in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Peru and India, useable in places where oxgen and electrical supplies may be sparse, and useable for other situations where ventilators can help patients, eg in childbirth.  

Offers for help please via the www.fieldventilator.com website
Barry

Hi Barry - do you still need volunteers for this project? I've had a few offers come through recently that I can direct to you?

Many thanks,
Kate-Zillah
Devolved Nations Lead, IET

KSharpe
8 Posts
Tatenda:
Hi LeeT

Can I contact you regarding ventilator spares? My email ttzvingoww@gmail.com

Hi Tatenda, 

Did you manage to contact someone regarding this?

Kate-Zillah Sharpe
Devolved Nations Lead, IET

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