Manufacturing life-saving equipment during pandemics. Ramping up production of medical ventilators
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, are focusing on ramping up production of ventilators based on the DemcAir production line. The project scope includes the following:
Analyse and research ventilator supply chain to address the challenges of availability of its parts and components focusing on boosting resilience;
Build automation tools to assist assembly and testing of the ventilators to reduce the production time while increasing production output with fewer staff;
Produce a training manual in 3D PDF format for operators to aid scaling up and down the production according to the market demand for medical ventilators.