Prototype breathing devices have been developed at Panasonic Manufacturing UK’s Cardiff facility, with initial approval granted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and clinical trials now ongoing.
Thus far, 80 devices have been produced but the facility is now on standby to produce 1,000 more if required. They were designed by Dr Rhys Thomas at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen and Maurice Clarke of engineering firm CR Clarke & Co.
Staff members at the facility have also been involved in numerous other initiatives to help the local community during the pandemic, including carrying out electromagnetic compatibility testing and reporting on a new Oximeter, which measures levels of oxygen in the blood.
And engineers have been putting 3D printers to excellent use by producing personal protective equipment for the NHS, while the company has also donated Panasonic TOUGHBOOK mobile computing devices to help those in isolation communicate with friends and family.
Discussing the new breathing aids, Robert Blowers – Panasonic home appliance division director – said: “We reached out to the Welsh government to see if we could use our skills and facilities to help in these difficult times and they responded with this request.
“The team has worked public holidays and weekends to make it work and it was great to see how people from the different businesses across our very diverse site came together to answer the challenge. We are standing by to mass produce the devices but, of course, are hoping that they will never be required.”
Earlier this month (May), the government confirmed that frontline workers are due to receive millions of items of PPE over the next few months thanks to collaborations with companies including Jaguar Land Rover, the Royal Mint and Amazon.
Such companies are supporting ongoing efforts to get more PPE to staff in the NHS and in care homes, following a call to action from the government for businesses in the UK to use their existing manufacturing power and expertise in order to meet growing demand for some types of equipment.
Over 200 potential manufacturers have now been identified and many of these have been contracted to make more than 25 million items of PPE and 12 million sq/m of fabric to make items like aprons, gloves and gowns.
The Royal Mint, for example, will be making more than 1.9 million face visors over the next six months, while product technology company Survitec will start making gowns from the beginning of June.
And Bolle Safety will make 6.5 million visors throughout the course of the pandemic, Jaguar Land Rover is making 14,000 visors a week for healthcare staff and Burberry is making non-surgical gowns at its Castleford factory, as well as sourcing masks through its supply chain.
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