From making trucks to life-saving ventilators is quite a change of pacw=e but Chennai-based commercial vehicle manufacturer has done just that. It has begun manufacturing ventilators, joining forces with the state government of Tamil Nadu and the Central government. This is in addition to the company providing gensets, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), masks and vehicles for sanitation of streets and campuses to Covid-19 frontline personnel.
Ashok Leyland says it was approached by the Government of India and Tamil Nadu to work with and support ventilator makers and help them improve supply chain and output capacity. In response, the company took a holistic approach to address the entire gamut of requirements in Covid-19 patient breathing assistance, rather than working with just one party and one product. This included first mile, mid-range and high end ICU ventilators required for patients at different stages of disease progression. This approach ensures maximum availability of ventilation at optimum costs.
After discussing with various clinical experts and intensivists, the company identified the gap that there was no ready solution available for relevant and robust first mile ventilation. Working to fill this gap, a team of 50 Ashok Leyland engineers have been working since end-March and have now readied a simple yet intelligent ventilator, at low cost but with all the essential features to aid first-mile ventilation including the necessary sensors and controllers for volume and pressure monitoring, and safeguards. The ventilator development is now complete. Testing, certification and clinical trials will conclude in the next few weeks, with mass manufacture of this system, starting in May 2020.
In the mid-range and high-end ICU ventilator segments, Ashok Leyland is working with two Chennai-based ventilator manufacturers - Kriti Kare India, which has been manufacturing ACUvent ventilators since 2014, and Phoenix Medical Systems, a 30-year-old firm which is the market leader in infant, maternal care products, assistive devices, and have developed an adult ventilator to support the nation in this moment of crisis. Under this arrangement, Ashok Leyland is offering help with component sourcing, supply chain, logistics, man power for production planning and in line-quality which will help both the ventilator manufacturers to overcome the challenge of large-scale production in a short duration of time.
Sharing his thoughts on this initiative, Vipin Sondhi, managing director and CEO, Ashok Leyland, said, “Our sourcing and engineering teams have been working 24X7 on these three projects. We are humbled that our efforts in developing these ventilators and support to ventilator makers, will help the government to prepare themselves for the future needs of people needing ventilator care.”
Commenting on the ventilator initiatives, Dr N. Saravanan, CTO, Ashok Leyland, said, “With this holistic approach, covering all aspects of patient ventilation, we are able to best utilise our strengths across functions, to make our contribution and help fight the battle against Covid-19. The idea is to offer lean and rapid support as the nation builds its capacities for supporting different patients in various stages of Covid-19, with relevant solutions.”