A consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses, including Renishaw, GKN Aerospace and many more from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium is led by Dick Elsy, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of manufacturing research centres based in the UK.
Over the past week the consortium has been working to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS) developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators.
Companies involved in the consortium have reportedly now received formal orders from the UK Government in excess of 10,000 units and will now accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. The device is believed to combine existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS. The regulator has reportedly been involved throughout and the consortium anticipates a straightforward and prompt regulatory sign off after the final audit.
The consortium states that it is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design with production beginning this week. The consortium also includes another producer of medical ventilators and it will provide them with additional manufacturing support and assembly facilities in order to scale up production of a second existing ventilator design which has full regulatory approval.
In response to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)’s requirements to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, the consortium explains that there are a range of other projects aiming to increase ventilator production. The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium reports that it is committed to playing its role in delivering both medical ventilator designs to the required specifications and, in conjunction with these other companies, organisations and groups, aid the delivery of additional ventilators to the NHS.
The companies involved in the consortium have taken many of their people from key projects to do focus on the VentilatorChallengeUK. The following companies and groups are involved in the consortium:
- BAE Systems
- Ford Motor Company
- GKN Aerospace
- High Value Manufacturing Catapult
- Inspiration Healthcare Group
- Siemens Healthineers and Siemens UK
- Smiths Group
- Ultra Electronics
- UK-based F1 teams: Haas F1, McLaren,
- Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Racing
- Point, Renault Sport Racing, Williams
Dick Elsy, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Chief Executive, stated, “This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world. Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different. They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”