With the COVID-19 crisis having a severe effect on the entire airline industry, an increasing number of manufacturers in the aerospace industry are turning their production to medical products and supplies that are desperately needed by hospitals around the world. These devices could go a long way to helping patients who are experiencing the worst Coronavirus symptoms.
One of the many great stories comes from Triumph Group whose plant on the Isle of Man in the Irish Seas has started 3D printing “Charlottle Values” which is a device that can convert standard full-face snorkelling masks into desperately needed life-saving ventilators. All the staff at the facility have jumped on board the project and they aim to make upwards of 650 valves each week which will go a long way into converting the snorkelling masks into ventilators.
“When the Charlotte Valve is attached to a snorkelling mask and a wall-mounted oxygen distributor, it creates makeshift ventilator mask,” says the company.
Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace, BAE Systems, Meggitt and Thales Group are contributing to VentilatorChallengeUK, a UK Government initiative that tasks manufacturers with the construction of ventilator units. Companies in the consortium have received an order from the UK government for more than 10,000 ventilators, according to the consortium’s webpage.
“This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world. Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different. They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.” – Dick Elsy, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Chief Executive.
Another company based in South Africa, Paramount Group who build the Mwari light attack aircraft and other products have started to produce transparent boxes that fit over the heads and chests of coronavirus patients. Called the “Intubox” the device will protect healthcare workers from falling ill by creating a physical barrier between them and the patients that they are treating. The firm hopes that they will deliver 500 Intubox units for hospitals in the South African region of Gauteng.
The Brazilian airframe manufacturer Embraer is working with multiple suppliers in Sao Jose dos Campos region to manufacture two machined aluminium components for respirators needed by hospitals in Sao Paulo. By the end of April, they hope to produce 5,000 respirator units.
Boeing and Airbus are also working on building face shield units that are badly needed by medical practitioners. Airbus is using some of it’s 20 3D printers that are based in Spain, which is seeing an enormous impact from the Coronavirus. Their sites in Alabama and Kansas are also undertaking similar efforts to assist in the US region.
Boeing has stated that they will deliver thousands of face shield frames on a weekly basis and will ramp up production over the coming weeks. They will build these units at St Louis, El Segundo, Mesa, Huntsville and Philadelphia.
This is certainly an incomplete list of the amazing work being done by the aerospace industry in helping to combat the COVID-19 crisis. This work directly saves lives. If you know of other manufacturers in the aerospace industry that are carrying out similar efforts, please do let us know in the comments.
To everyone involved in the creation of PPE and medical devices, you have our sincere thanks!