How Augmented Reality Plays a Critical Role in the VentilatorChallengeUK

Written By: Jacqui Cook
  • 5/4/2020
  • Read Time : 2 min
Augmented reality plays a critical role in the VentilatorChallengeUK

As the number one early morning financial program in the UK, "Wake Up to Money" on BBC Radio is a great start to the business day, with topical content, debate and a string of interviews with leading executives.

Recently, PTC’s Paul Haimes, European VP of Technical Sales, was invited on to the show to talk about augmented reality (AR) and the critical role it plays in the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium.
Led by High Value Manufacturing Catapult CEO Dick Elsy, the Consortium has risen to the "call-to-action" by the British government for manufacturers and technology companies to come together and increase the quantity of ventilators needed in the treatment of COVID-19.

With effective collaboration at its heart, great British manufacturing and technology companies, such as PTC, GKN Aerospace, McLaren, Ford Motor Company, Meggit and Siemens UK, had started to work with ventilator manufacturers Penlon and Smiths Group. They shared a common goal – to work at unprecedented pace to move ventilator production from 50 to 60 units per week, to 1,500 in seven days, by next month, thus fulfilling the government’s order for 20,000.

Due to feedback from clinicians treating and learning from patients with COVID-19, adjustments were made to the Penlon ventilator and approved in around three weeks by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which normally takes up to nine months. The government has ordered 15,000 of this model and production is well under way. In addition, Smiths Group have confirmed a further order of 5,000 of its paraPAC plus™ ventilators.

Around 250 units have now been sent out, including to the NHS Nightingale Hospital, London – one of the first NHS temporary hospital set up to treat COVID-19 patients and housed in the ExCel London.

During the "Wake up to Money" show, Haimes explained to presenter Sean Farrington that AR has allowed the best of engineering and technology to come together and ramp up production and assembly through the transfer of skills and intellectual property of the assembly lines at Smiths and Penlon.

PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture AR technology has proven itself to be a valuable part of the consortium’s work; firstly, as a training aid, but also by mitigating the need of an expert in each partner factory, reducing the risk of virus contamination in the process.

Elsy has been quoted as saying that "10 years" worth of ventilators are now being made in nearly 10 weeks to cope with the demand from COVID-19’. This is a truly outstanding accomplishment by a group of British manufacturers and technology companies, a group that PTC is very proud to be involved in.

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About the Author

Jacqui Cook

Jacqui Cook is a Director in PTC's Corporate Communications department. She has more than two decades experience of working with business journalists, establishing tight working relationships and producing factual content. She is descended from the originators of cricket, the UK national past time and has a strong passion for animals, in particular the British Bulldog.