A consortium of local companies in the Mid and East Antrim Borough from the manufacturing and engineering sectors have answered the call to design and produce ventilators to be used in hospitals across Northern Ireland in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Under the umbrella of www.inventni.org a network of firms, including several from within the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area, are pulling out all the stops to answer an urgent call from the Department for the Economy and Invest NI for the Rapidly Manufactured Ventilation Systems (RMVS).
In conjunction with the local Manufacturing Task Force, companies were asked to consider registering on the portal and share their skills by adapting existing technologies or providing part manufacturing of elements such as laser cutting, fabrication, PCB assembly and 3D Printing.
Since late last month, the Invent NI Alliance have been liaising with medics, assisted breathing and medical ventilator specialists, engineers and other groupings working on developing new emergency breathing aids, to design and produce prototype emergency breathing aids.
In parallel, the Alliance partners have been developing plans and structures for the manufacture of emergency breathing aids.
Cllr Peter Johnston, who sits on the Council’s Borough Growth Committee, explained:
“The design will be completely open source and free to other companies who can replicate it elsewhere.
“The team have been working round the clock over the past ten days and have developed a ventilator which we hope goes into production within the next few weeks.
“This is a philanthropic effort and the ventilators will be donated free of charge to medical staff on the front line who need them most, while the cost of materials is covered by donations to the Go Fund Me fundraising appeal.
“A particular thanks to the Front Line Doctors, Anaesthetists and Medical Engineers who volunteered in shaping this project when we asked for their support during these very challenging times.
“I am very honoured to be part of this team and particularly proud at the number of companies from within Mid and East Antrim Borough that have stepped up to the mark in helping out with this effort.“We are aiming to raise £150,000 to help towards material costs and where possible to purchase much needed PPE for our front line staff. If you can support, please visit the website www.inventni.org for all the details.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Gregg McKeen, Chair of the Borough Growth Committee, added:
“The business community of Mid and East Antrim, and Northern Ireland as a whole, have come together to help our frontline NHS heroes at a time of crisis.
“This philanthropic effort to design and produce lifesaving equipment deserves the highest praise from everyone in our society.”
Donations can be made to help this important voluntary effort at www.gofundme.com/f/invent-ni