Sunday, April 12, 2020

Ventilators - How Danby Appliances got to Where We are.

Covid is the crisis of our time.  The only thing I like about it is it is not people killing people - rather it is the whole world against the virus. It is uniting.

As the virus unfolded, I could see the need for ventilators.  So perhaps 7-8 weeks ago, I put the Danby designers and engineers on figuring out what we could make.  The design criterion was - something we could start production in 2-3 weeks with parts that are readily available in Canada.

As an impatient entrepreneur, I just wanted to do it.  Quickly we realized that we simply did not have the capability to do this design.  So we started to bring in other people and companies to help.  One of the first people was highly energetic Rick Jamieson of ABS Friction.  He even calls himself Chief Engergizing Officer of this project.  He has been amazing at driving this project forward.

He brought in one of my other YPO friends, Scott Shawyer from JMP Solutions and one of his friends Paul LHeureux of Crystal Fountains.  Both of these companies would prove invaluable. 

Due to the urgency, we followed (and still are) different paths.

On the design our own path, Crystal Fountains stepped up and using their awesome rapid prototyping, designed and build a design from an open source.  I was very impressed with Crystal Fountains staff's speed, quality and professionalism.   It is not a true ventilator but a ambulatory bag pusher.  It is less invasive than a ventilator.   If someone shows up at a hospital and needs a ventilator and none is available, this is a perfect solution.  It can also reduce the time spent on a ventilator by weaning someone off the ventilator and on to this unit.  This video will give you a full idea of what this unit is.

These units are in production now and ready to ship.  We just need names of hospitals that want them.

Our second path was to produce an open source Medtronic design.  To do this, we again needed someone with medical production and expertise.  This spawned the relationship with Baylis Medical. 

This press release on the Baylis site says it all.    We will be building thousands of these units.  The advantage of them is they are professional, well tested units.  health professionals know how to use them.  And they will have a life far beyond Covid and can be use in hospitals for years.

We still have a third path but we have not announced it yet (partly because it is not completely nailed down). 

So we are a work in progress trying to solve the ventilator shortage for Canada.  And after that, we will turn our energies to the world need.

The need for ventilators will be huge in Africa (unfortunately).  See this Atlantic article.

Stay safe.  And go wash your hands.


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