Coronavirus: FLT maker Combilift develops ventilator device 04 May 2020

Irish manufacturer Combilift, which specialises in forklift trucks and other handling solutions, has developed the Combi-Ventilate, a splitter device that turns one ventilator into multiple ventilation stations.

Designed to address the requirements of medical professionals in the current Covid-19 emergency, the Combi-Ventilate was developed by a team of mechatronic and software engineers over the past five weeks.

Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder of Combilift, says: “Certain countries and cities are struggling to get enough ventilators and many governments and health authorities are encouraging manufacturers to come up with a solution, as did the HSE in Ireland. Instead of actually developing ventilators, we analysed what is really required, as we do in our usual business models.”

A unit is currently undergoing laboratory tests with Ger Curley, professor of Anaesthesia & Critical Care at Royal College of Surgeon’s in Beaumont Hospital.

The Combi-Ventilate uses standard pipes and fittings and its individual patient filters are said to prevent cross contamination. Each patient has a dedicated screen that allows medical professionals to individually monitor vital information. Features include non-return valves, HEPA filters, flow sensors and an automatic flow control valve. The Combi-Ventilate also has automatically adjustable flow control valves.

McVicar adds: “When we are developing equipment, we listen closely to our customers in order to perfect and improve the product. This approach in our collaboration with the HSE is what has got us where we are today. This is very much designed as an attachment which can be added to any brand of ventilator. It costs a fraction of a standard ventilator and can be installed very easily into an ICU unit environment. We have made Combi-Ventilate with the same objective as we do with all our products - which is all about doing more with less.

“We have undertaken this non-profit endeavour in order to meet the demands of the global crisis for health services around the world, namely the lack or shortage of ventilators. The medical device sector is not our core business but making equipment which keeps people safe has always been our focus and this latest project, driven by our desire to help during these difficult times, mirrors what our research and development has done for the last 20 years.”

Adam Offord

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