Circuitwise joins emergency ventilator consortium

Circuitwise joins emergency ventilator consortium

Circuitwise Electronics Manufacturing, one of Australia’s leading ISO 13485 certified contract manufacturers of medical devices, has been selected to join a consortium to manufacture emergency ventilators being developed as part of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contract is to deliver printed circuit board assemblies to control 2000 ventilators being developed by a consortium led by Melbourne-based Grey Innovation, which won a $31.3 million contract with the federal government to deliver the ventilators by the end of July. Other consortium members include ANCA and Marand, which are machining critical components and subassemblies; Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions, which is making the test equipment required for the ventilators; and other partners including Planet Innovation, Braemac and Hosico.

Grey’s NOTUS Emergency Invasive Ventilator Program is supported by the Victorian Government and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. Victoria may purchase a further 2000 ventilators and Grey Innovation is hopeful the ventilator will also be attractive to other countries, having already fielded inquiries from Asia.

The program will manufacture under licence a mechanical ventilator design from UK-based Smiths Medical, which has been at the forefront of the UK Government’s efforts to ramp up its supply of ventilators. According to Grey Executive Chairman Jefferson Harcourt, the decision to use a design that was already certified was considered the best approach.

“Using a certified design means that Grey only has to prove equivalence to Australian regulators,” Harcourt said. “Certifying a new ventilator design developed from scratch would have been infeasible in the timelines required.”

Grey Innovation has been guided by a medical and clinical advisory team representing a range of universities and other medical institutions in Melbourne. Team member Professor Bruce Thompson said, “The ventilator design is lightweight and portable and has been selected for its ability to be easily transferred to us for the actual production, and its ease of use for our medical teams.”

Circuitwise General Manager Serena Ross said she was pleased to be able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and to support Australia’s ability to manufacture advanced technologies locally.

“This pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of our supply chains, and product developers are now realising that the new smart move is to manufacture their subassemblies in Australia, rather than Asia,” Ross said.

Image caption: A mock-up of the NOTUS ventilator control interface.

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