Medtronic shares its ventilator tech with manufacturers to meet global demand

31 Mar 2020

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Medtronic is to share the design specifications for its leading ventilator in a bid to overcome global shortages in response to the coronavirus.

In a bid to give other manufacturers the ability to ramp up ventilator production, Dublin-headquartered Medtronic has made the designs for one of its key medtech products available for download.

In a statement, the company said that the design specifications are for its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) ventilator. Launched in 2010, the ventilator can be used in a range of care settings and, the company said, its design makes it ideal for manufacturers, inventors and start-ups to quickly produce.

Future Human

The resources to start production, such as its product manual, design requirements and schematics, have been made available through a new online portal. Software code and other necessary information are expected to follow the design specifications at a later date.

‘Global crisis needs a global response’

“Medtronic recognises the acute need for ventilators as life-saving devices in the management of Covid-19 infections. We know this global crisis needs a global response,” said Bob White, executive vice-president of the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group at Medtronic.

“Over the past few weeks, we have ramped up production of our Puritan Bennett 980 ventilators. But we also know we can do more, and we are. By openly sharing the PB 560 design information, we hope to increase global production of ventilator solutions for the fight against Covid-19.”

Earlier this month, the company said it was increasing production at its Galway plant by more than 40pc to meet global ventilator demand. In doing so, the site has now entered 24/7 production.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a team from University College London (UCL) and UCL Hospital announced it had collaborated with the Mercedes Formula One team to rapidly develop a new device to reduce the need for ventilators.

Developed in just 100 hours, the type of device, known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and full ventilation. Reports from Italy suggested around half of patients given CPAP have avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic