In 2020, the coronavirus crisis is a primary concern worldwide. All over the world, there is a need for ventilation equipment to support coronavirus patients suffering from respiratory problems. The need is high now that the virus is affecting more people. Demcon’s expertise relating to ventilation modules and system engineering resulted in the Dutch government placing an order in March for five hundred modules for a complete ventilation system.
In response, Demcon launched an accelerated development program for the system so that it could contribute to the battle against coronavirus. The assignment – as well as challenge – was to develop the first ventilation systems within four weeks and develop five hundred as soon as possible. A team of experienced engineers rapidly elaborated the architecture and design of the entire system.
Within two weeks, the first prototypes were sent out. The system was tested in Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, Erasmus Hospital in Rotterdam and the Isala in Zwolle, and important feedback was received from users, mainly doctors and nursing staff. After processing the feedback, the system was tested on a patient for the first time. A safe and properly functioning system is vital, hence the focus on the users and the clinical tests. Demcon engineers conducted these tests together with the Dutch authorities. There was also close collaboration with quality control and certifying bodies, with which an extensive risk analysis was performed.
Although the ventilation system has all the necessary functions, the first version is a simplified solution for (young) adult patients. The heart of the system is the ventilation module designed by Demcon macawi respiratory systems. This controls the oxygen percentage (between 21% and 100%) in the air which goes to the patient. This air passes through tubes to the external, but essential, humidifier, ensuring that the patient does not inhale dry air but warm, moist air. From the humidifier, the air goes to the patient through tubes. The first model uses a laptop screen as a control panel which the doctor or nurse uses to monitor the patient’s reactions or to adjust certain settings. In a later version of the system, these functions will be incorporated in a graphical user interface which will replace the laptop. We also offer support when the systems are eventually operational.
The system was made possible thanks to the input and dedication of the team and the possibilities offered by the expertise and cooperation with partners.
Offering solutions like this fits in with Demcon’s philosophy to create value for society. Demcon realizes that they are in a unique position to contribute to contemporary problems, as technology increasingly offers a solution for complex issues.