As the world faces ventilator shortages in the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Dyson—the U.K. company known best for making vacuums, air purifiers, and hair dryers—is collaborating on a ventilator in coordination with The Technology Partnership (TTP). Dubbed CoVent, it’s a bed-mounted, portable ventilator that can run from battery power in field-hospital conditions.
Working under a grant from the U.K. government, with oversight from the U.K. National Health Service and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Dyson has agreed to produce 10,000 ventilators for the country. On top of that, it will produce another 5,000 ventilators for donation. One thousand of those will go to the U.K. The remaining 4,000 will go to other countries. CoVent will need to receive regulatory approval before receiving funding and going into production.
While American companies including GM, Ford, and Tesla have expressed a willingness to produce ventilators to address current shortages, the medical technology used by existing ventilators is proprietary, and most reports say it could take months to convert such vehicle manufacturers to ventilator production.
There is no specific word on delivery dates at this time.
This article has been updated to more accurately characterize the role Dyson could play in building these ventilators. We have also reached out to TTP and the NHS but have yet to hear back.
Below is an internal email that James Dyson sent the company today.
Hospitals are the frontline in the war against Covid-19, where heroic doctors, nurses, and care workers are battling to save lives and help people recover from this terrible virus. As with any battle, there are many challenges to overcome, not least the availability of essential equipment which in this case means ventilators. A ventilator supports a patient who is no longer able to maintain their own airways but sadly there is currently a significant shortage, both in the UK and other countries around the world.
Since I received a call from Boris Johnson ten days ago, we have refocused resources at Dyson, and worked with TTP, The Technology Partnership, to design and build an entirely new ventilator, The CoVent. This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume. It is designed to address the specific clinical needs of Covid-19 patients, and it is suited to a variety of clinical settings. The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production.
The Dyson Digital motor sits at the heart of the new device and the motor’s design is optimised to have a very high level of intrinsic safety, making it particularly well-suited for industrial, high volume production. The device is designed to achieve a high quality air supply to ensure its safety and effectiveness, drawing on our air purifier expertise which delivers high-quality filtration in high-volume products.
Ventilators are a regulated product so Dyson and TTP will be working with the MHRA and the Government to ensure that the product and the manufacturing process is approved. We have received an initial order of 10,000 units from the UK Government which we will supply on an open-book basis. We are also looking at ways of making it available internationally.
I am proud of what Dyson engineers and our partners at TTP have achieved. I am eager to see this new device in production and in hospitals as soon as possible. This is clearly a time of grave international crisis, I will therefore donate 5,000 units to the international effort, 1,000 of which will go to the United Kingdom.
We will keep you updated with our progress.