UNITED KINGDOM — A group of businesses from across the UK’s aerospace, automotive and medical sectors have come together to produce medical ventilators to help Britain’s fight against COVID-19.
The group, named the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium is led by Dick Elsy, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of manufacturing research centers in the UK.
The consortium has been investigating 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.
“Over the coming weeks I will be working closely with the consortium as part of our shared ambition to protect our NHS and save lives,” says the UK Minister for Business and Industry, Nadhim Zahawi. “Over 3,000 companies answered the Prime Minister’s call for ventilator production and their help will be vital as we make our way through this turbulent period.”
The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators. Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the UK Government in excess of 10,000 units.
It will accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. The device combines existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS.
The consortium is working to take the necessary steps to increase production of this design. The consortium will also provide additional manufacturing support and assembly facilities to another producer of medical ventilators to scale-up production of a second existing ventilator design which has full regulatory approval.
“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,” says Elsy. “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.”
Companies and groups involved in the initiative include Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford Motor Company, GKN Aerospace, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Inspiration Healthcare Group, Meggitt, Penlon, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce, Siemens Healthineers and Siemens UK, Smiths Group, Thales, Ultra Electronics, Unilever, as well as a number of UK-based F1 teams.