Ventilators: University of Bradford offers expertise to makers

Ventilators: University of Bradford offers expertise to makers

THE University of Bradford has issued an open invitation to businesses requiring help to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.

David Barker, technical services manager from the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering & Informatics, says the university has a bank of high-spec machines ready at a moment’s notice.

They include six specialist computer numerical control (CNC) machines, including two lathes and four milling machines, plus two polymer laser 3D printers, which are currently not in use due to face-to-face teaching being suspended.

The machines could be used to make parts for ventilators and other hi-tech components needed by the NHS and David has already reached out to one national company to offer assistance.

He said: “We have these machines available, we have people who are prepared to come in and help. If they provide the design, we can supply the machine capability.”

The university already has a respected track record in developing cutting edge medical tools and implantable devices, including laser-cut stents and plastic devices for use in dentistry, ophthalmology, spinal and so on.

Dr Cristina Tuinea-Bobe, research and knowledge transfer business development manager, echoed the call out to industry.

She said: “We have huge experience with medical devices especially made in polymers, from optical to spinal to orthodontics. Our machines are available for manufacturing anything required for this difficult period.

“We have the capacity to mould from very small, high precision components to parts formed on high-speed, heavy industrial moulding machines. Some of our devices are enclosed in a clean-room environment, so they are suitable for medical manufacture. If they require compounding or need to create a specific material and put antimicrobial powders in the polymers, we can help with that as well.”

She added: “My message to manufacturers is to get in touch. If we cannot help, our large network in the UK and abroad might have a solution.”

Dr Liam Sutton, associate director of research and innovation, said: “We have a range of experts and specialist equipment at Bradford which is accessible to businesses and we have in the past supported industry to make all kinds of devices. Manufacturing is a very important sector in the district’s economy and we’re proud of our track record of collaboration with local firms.”

A full list of the University of Bradford’s specialist equipment is available here:

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For patients suffering from the most severe effects of coronavirus, access to a ventilator could be a matter of life or death.

With ventilators in short supply, the Government has ordered 10,000 new machines from Dyson to help the NHS fight Covid-19.

The technology giant has designed a new medical ventilator at the request of Boris Johnson, which founder Sir James Dyson said could be delivered “in weeks”.

The NHS has access to 8,175 ventilators, but the Government said 30,000 were needed to cope with the growing number of coronavirus cases.