GUELPH, Canada — Danby, a Canadian appliance manufacturer, is retooling its production lines to make full-service ventilators and a second device that allows bag valve masks to operate mechanically in an emergency situation.
Danby has partnered with four other companies in the venture, called Ventilators for Canadians.
“This is the crisis of the day. We have to do something,” says Danby CEO Jim Estill. “My motto is ‘do the right thing’ and I’m an entrepreneur that is impatient. I don’t stand by and say ‘oh well,’ and just put my head in the sand. I need to do something.”
Pre-assembly of full ventilators will be rolling off the production line for final assembly at a partner medical company and the device that allows hand ambulatory airbags work as an emergency ventilator are already being made.
The ambulatory bag compressor which uses a piston to compress the emergency hand ventilators often used in temporary situations. With the current ventilator shortage, the ABC device could help a patient until a full-service ventilator becomes available.
“We’ve been producing our ambulatory bag one for a week,” Estill says. “The main ventilator will probably not be started for two weeks. We’re just gathering things right now.”
Joining Danby in Ventilators For Canadians are ABS Friction, Crystal Fountain and JMP Engineering, which are partnering with Baylis Medical, a Canadian-based medical device company.
“We called the group Ventilators for Canadians so obviously we would sell them to Canada first, but we need to get the orders in and in the end you’re saving the world,” Estill says.
He said he started putting together the idea about six weeks ago when the crisis hit and it became apparent ventilators were needed. It took two weeks for Danby to start making devices with off-the-shelf parts, using a template for the full ventilators made public by another company rather than the delay that starting from ground zero would have caused.