Ashok Leyland recently announced a slew of initiatives in the ventilator making and distribution efforts. The company, through its strong country-wide network and its digital tools, has been at the forefront, fighting against COVID-19 over the last few weeks in terms of providing GenSets, operating free community kitchens, providing personal protective equipment (PPEs), masks and vehicles for sanitation of streets and campuses. The company has also been assisting numerous people caught in the implications of the lockdown, including truck drivers, migrant workers, underprivileged and daily wage earners.
Ashok Leyland was approached by the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu to work with and support ventilator makers and help them improve supply chain and output capacity. In response, the company took a holistic approach to address the entire gamut of requirements in COVID-19 patient breathing assistance, rather than working with just one party and one product. This included first mile, mid-range and high end ICU ventilators required for patients at different stages of disease progression. This approach ensures maximum availability of ventilation at optimum costs.
After discussing with various clinical experts and intensivists, the company identified the gap that there was no ready solution available for relevant and robust first mile ventilation. Working to fill this gap, a team of 50 Ashok Leyland Engineers have been working since end-March and have now readied a simple yet intelligent ventilator, at low cost but with all the essential features to aid first mile ventilation including the necessary sensors and controllers for volume and pressure monitoring, and safeguards. The ventilator development is now complete. Testing, certification and clinical trials will conclude in the next few weeks, with mass manufacture of this system, starting in May, 2020.
In the mid-range and high-end ICU ventilator segments, Ashok Leyland is working with two Chennai based ventilator manufacturers viz. Kriti Kare India and Phoenix Medical Systems who are market leaders in infant, maternal care products, assistive devices, and have developed an adult ventilator to support the nation in this moment of crisis. Under this arrangement, Ashok Leyland is offering help with component sourcing, supply chain, logistics, man power for production planning and in line-quality which will help both the ventilator manufacturers to overcome the challenge of large-scale production in a short duration of time.