Friday, April 3, 2020

News: Engineers address ventilator challenge


Engineers based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham are working together with other businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, to produce medical ventilators for the UK.

As part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Nuclear AMRC are are involved in the challenge 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. Formal orders from the government in excess of 10,000 units have already been made.

The AMRC is a network of world-leading research and innovation centres working with manufacturing companies of any size from around the globe. Its multimillion pound facilities on the AMP include the Medical AMRC which has multi-disciplined engineers from a wide range of industrial backgrounds that have extensive experience in solving problems through engineering design, product development and access to clinical expertise.

Members of the ventilator challenge consortium include many members of the AMRC such as Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace.


The consortium has assessed production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. Manufacturing will begin in early April at the Welsh Government-owned facility at Broughton, which is managed by The AMRC.

Dick Elsy, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult's chief executive, said: "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."

MetLase is another AMP-based company whose expertise is being used in the rapid development and manufacture of ventilators to meet increased hospital requirements, caused by COVID-19.

The joint venture between Rolls-Royce and the Unipart Group is a mechanical engineering consultancy that specialises in increasing productivity by designing and manufacturing complex tooling, fixturing and components for a wide range of industries, often bringing lead times of months down to just days.

A cluster of leading medical device development companies from Cambridge are working with MetLase on the challenge which they described as "taking a development process that would normally take 5-6 years and attempting to deliver within 5-6 weeks, against the background of distributed teams observing government separation guidelines."

AMRC website
Nuclear AMRC website
MetLase website

Images: Cambridge Consultants


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