Electrical engineering firm, Hillstone Loadbanks, has designed a life-saving ventilator valve to help with the fight against coronavirus.
The Bury-based engineering firm, which designs and manufactures electrical load banks for batteries and generator testing, used its 3D printers to start a collaboration which delivered a valve solution for converting home ventilator kits to treat patients recovering from Covid-19, thereby freeing up more specialist ventilators for severely ill patients in the ICU critical care ward.
Paul Smethurst, managing director at Hillstone Loadbanks said, “Like many engineering firms, on the night of the lockdown announcement, we were scratching our heads to think of how we could help the NHS in this unprecedented time.
“We were soon in contact with Dr Iain Crossingham, a respiratory consultant at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, who sent us a concept design for a simple part he needed to convert home ventilator kits to treat patients recovering from Covid-19.
“A collaborative effort between ourselves and Mackart Additive allowed the use of 3D printers to produce a valve which met the strict flow and pressure standards required.
“The valve was successfully trialled by Dr Crossingham who used it to ventilate a test lung. This project was especially close to home for me, as my wife’s cousin is the Lead Physician Associate on the hospital’s ICU ward.”
Using the JustGiving page, Hillstone Loadbanks raised £400 to fund the project.
One hundred valves were manufactured and used on 20 ventilator machines in the aftercare ward for patients recovering from the virus.
Established in 1989, Hillstone Loadbanks operates out of a 14,000 sq ft facility and supplies load banks for AC – UPS systems and genset testing and DC – standby battery and lithium-ion discharge testing to a wide variety of sectors across the globe, including oil & gas, data centres, petro-chem, aerospace, telecommunications, power generation & renewable technologies.
Want to find out more about this project? Check out Electrical Review’s video interview with Paul Smethurst, where we find out more about Hillstone’s fight against Covid-19.