Chandan B Mallik, Kolkata: It’s no secret that ventilators, a critical life-saving machine for patients with respiratory complications are very much in demand in hospitals across the world due to the unprecedented volume of coronavirus patients being treated. India, currently India imports around 80-85 per cent of all medical devices for intensive care, including hospital ventilators and they can cost anywhere between Rs 5-12 lakh a pop. The prices of smaller portable or interim machines are less.
Now that the situation is reaching a stage where demand outstrips supply, carmakers who use high-tech precision machines for milling or 3D prototyping have been approached for help by government as well as existing ventilator makers.
In India, Mahindra Group and Maruti Suzuki have showed interest in helping out with their technical resources. In fact, Mahindra Group is a step ahead as its engineers have made prototypes of ventilators that are expected to cost less than Rs 7,500 when mass produced. Mahindra engineers have been working on an automated version of the Bag Valve Mask ventilator (commonly known as Ambu bag or BMV) which works as an an interim lifesaver.
In a tweet, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra applauded engineers from his company who have been involved in making the prototypes.
As @GoenkaPk tweeted, we are simultaneously working with an indigenous maker of ICU ventilators. These are sophisticated machines costing between 5 to 10 lakhs. This device is an interim lifesaver & the team estimates it will cost below ₹7,500 https://t.co/3rz1FBkPF0
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 26, 2020
“So, so proud of our Kandivali & Igatpuri teams who confined themselves to the factories & without sleep produced this in 48 hrs. With humility, we will seek guidance from specialists on the usefulness of the device. Whatever the outcome, they have shown India fights back…,” he tweeted. Mahindra also said that the company is simultaneously working with an indigenous maker of ICU ventilators.
The next step in the process is that the prototypes will be sent for evaluation and approval by relevant authorities before they can be mass produced.