Great news from a Co Monaghan company which has used its expertise in forklift manufacturing to develop a device which turns one ventilator into multiple ventilation stations. 

Combilift, best known for its range of forklifts, designed the Combi-Ventilate to address the requirements of hospitals and healthcare professionals facing an expected increase in demand for ventilators during the Covid-19 crisis.

They say the device was developed by a team of mechatronic and software engineers in the past five weeks with a unit currently undergoing laboratory tests with Ger Curley Professor of Anaesthesia & Critical Care at Royal College of Surgeon’s in Beaumont hospital.

Combilift says their device can treat up to 6 people at a time and that it is manufactured on a not for profit basis. “Certain countries and cities are struggling to get enough ventilators and many governments and health authorities are encouraging manufacturers to come up with a solution, as did the HSE in Ireland. Instead of actually developing ventilators we analysed what is really required, as we do in our usual business models,” Martin McVicar, co-founder of Combilift, told the Anglo-Celt.

The Combi-Ventilate uses standard pipes and fittings for easy assembly and its individual patient filters prevent cross contamination. Each patient has a dedicated screen which allows medical professionals to individually monitor their vital information. This includes live values, data on patient history and statistics and adjustable alarm settings. Features include non-return valves, HEPA filters, flow sensors and an automatic flow control valve. Any abnormalities that occur are detected and will only trigger that specific patient’s alarm.

“We have made Combi-Ventilate under the same ethos and with the same objective as we do with all our the Combilift products – which is all about doing more with less,” said Mr McVicar

“We have undertaken this non-profit endeavour in order to meet and facilitate the demands of the global crisis for health services around the world, the lack or shortage of ventilators.

He said he hoped the innovation would open up more opportunities for Combilift in the medical device area in future.

Dr Michael Power, National Clinical Lead, Critical Care Programme, National Clinical Programmes, Clinical Design and Innovation, Office of the Chief Clinical Officer, HSE told the Anglo-Celt:

“The Combi-Ventilate is a safe and reliable attachment for ventilators for use in an ICU setting in that unwanted scenario where you have one ventilator for multiple patients. It removes that horrible dilemma. The Combi-Ventilate is safe and reliable. It is an engineered solution which delivers the correct volume of air to each patient and actually delivers the required amounts of air to each patient safely and reliably. The Combi-Ventilate project is an example of a collaboration between the engineering and the manufacturing industry and the Health Service Executive (HSE). It is an agile project which is completed inside of five weeks.”