The government has announced that the Ventilator ChallengeUK consortium led by manufacturers across the UK’s aerospace, automotive and medical sectors will shortly begin producing 10,000 medical ventilators to help the NHS in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative comes in response to a call out to industry by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who asked for the support of all businesses who could support the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the UK in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has now evaluated responses from business and has selected ADS members including Accenture, Arrow Electronics, Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Meggitt, Rolls-Royce, Siemens UK, Smiths, Thales and William to join the consortium.

The consortium will be led by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult CEO Dick Elsy and work to a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System, which has been developed by clinicians and regulators.

Production to begin this week

Over the past week, the consortium came together and evaluated the design, manufacture, assemble and test components for the devices, as well as finished medical ventilators. The consortium has been working fast to put everything in place to begin production early this week.

Responding to t announcement, ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “Today’s announcement that aerospace, automotive and medical companies are collaborating to produce ventilators is a demonstration of community endeavour in this time of national crisis.”

“UK manufacturers are using their skills in producing complex and precision-engineered equipment to good use at this crucial time. It is incredibly important we all work together and the fantastic people we have working in the aerospace industry stand ready to play their part.”

Still time for sector to get involved

The consortium recognises that many companies and individuals with relevant expertise will be keen to help in the effort to produce more ventilators for the UK and will want to be a part of this project. The best way to get register interest in helping the effort is for companies to register support through the Government’s web page rather than by approaching the consortium directly.

This will mean that if consortium needs additional help, they will be able to source it through the mechanism and, in the meantime, can focus all of their energies on the urgent task of production.