During the COVID-19 pandemic, spikes in demand for hospital respiratory equipment - much needed for COVID patients - required a rapid ramp-up of production capacities. To prevent the deaths of thousands, medical device manufacturers producing medical ventilators boosted their production output. However, with a sharp ten-fold increase in demand compared to the standard quantities that hospitals require, the manufacturers could not meet the continuously growing demand.
Here are the main reasons why:
Medical ventilators are typically produced in relatively small volumes and require a considerable amount of skilled workforce for assembly and testing.
The production of medical ventilators is based on Build-to-Order approach.
Some of the critical components, such as electronics and plastic parts are supplied globally.
To address the issues that prevent companies to increase the production in Europe at short notice, a group of CO-VERSATILE partners, including Demcon, Fraunhofer IML, HSSMI, SZTAKI and University of Westminster, focused on ramping up production of ventilators based on the DemcAir production line.
The following results were achieved at the end of the project:
DEMCON Macawi Respiratory Systems developed the Surface Electromyographic (sEMG) technology to enhance personalized respiratory support and improve treatment options.
The sEMG technology can be incorporated into most medical ventilators to measure respiratory muscle activity continuously and non-invasively.
The technology works by measuring the electrical activity of the diaphragm through Electromyography (EMG) using electrodes positioned directly on the patient skin.
The measurements are wirelessly transmitted to the ventilator base station to obtain an accurate online assessment of breathing activity.
IML developed the OTD-NET simulation software to model the supply chain and UoW investigated how to cloudify OTD-NET to support on-demand business models.
The cloudification of this software was performed in five steps, including defining microservices, publishing Docker containers, preparing an Application Development Template, registering and publishing the application, and offering it to manufacturing companies as a cloud-based service.
The aim of cloudifying the software was to create a portable cloud-based service accessible via a web-based GUI for manufacturing companies.
Users can browse, select and start the application, which is offered as a cloud-based service through the Digital Technopole of CO-VERSATILE.