On the 14th March, with the UK about to be placed in lockdown, Propak was approached by a longstanding customer, who are a leading ISO13485 registered Medical Device manufacturer, to support the UK Ventilator Challenge.
With a prediction of 30,000 ventilators required, Propak were contracted to rapidly manufacture over 13,500 units within a 12-week window.
Demonstrating our ability to rapidly deploy capacity when needed; Propak scaled-up production working 7 days a week 24 hours a day in order to support the production volume of ventilators within a tight schedule.
- 2,650 sheets of stainless steel procured
- 26,000 production hours dedicate to ventilators in just 6 weeks
- 780,000 bush inserts purchased and used
- 63,000 litres of Nitrogen generated to run laser machines
- New specialist tooling and production methods developed to accelerate production
The Ventilator was designed and developed at break-neck speed working closely with Engineering, Planning, Manufacturing, and other Supply Chain Specialists. The challenge was to manufacture a product to meet government specifications, whilst allowing the fastest possible delivery. The parts needed to be appropriate for mass manufacture and built from components which could be readily acquired, avoiding competition for materials and components commonly used in other ventilators. During the design, the specification continued to evolve (in response to clinicians’ feedback on their experiences treating COVID-19 patients) and throughout the 6-week project, the design was iterated to keep up with those changes.
The landscape of how production could continue and how people interact was also evolving rapidly; Propak were agile in making changes to the factory layout to allowed production to continue whilst keeping employees safe by implementing social distancing measures, enhanced cleaning protocols and additional PPE.
Responsiveness was critical projects success. From the moment the design was released, we had everything in place and on time to commence manufacture.
With the rest of the UK going into lockdown, our team showed immense dedication which is something we are incredibly grateful for. We are also thankful to the families who stood behind them whilst they rose to this challenge, working 7 days a week, night and day, to be able to produce the ventilators.
In the same period, lockdown has managed to stem the growth of COVID-19 across the world, and as the world learns more about the treatment of COVID-19 patients, the need for ventilators has changed. As of April 28th, the final regulatory submission and ramp up to full manufacture was put on hold by the UK Government.
Whilst the project is now on hold, the ventilators are ready to be re-triggered should the need arise.
We are immensely proud of the dedication that has been seen during this time, not only to Propak employees but also for the collaborative effort of designers, consultants, our customer, suppliers and everyone else involved.