Via Yahoo Finance

Three manufacturers are teaming up to convert scuba diving equipment into ventilator masks that can be used to treat coronavirus patients.

Wirral-based fluid control manufacturer Heap & Partners joined Mercedes-Benz (DAI.DE) and Airbus (AIR.PA) to produce thousands of valves that enable scuba diving masks to be used with ventilators.

The collaboration came as a response to an urgent plea from the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford which called for help from the manufacturing industry to provide ventilator support for coronavirus patients.

The valves were produced using 3D laser printing technology.

Heap & Partners also 3D printed face masks to protect healthcare workers treating patients at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

A spokesman for Heap & Partners said: “The Charlotte valves were used to adapt scuba diving masks into fully functioning ventilator masks suitable for use in emergency therapy in the pre-intubation stage.

Read more: UK manufacturers to use 3D-printing to build ventilators for NHS

“Heap & Partners is set to move production of the valves to injection moulding in a bid to rapidly increase the scale and pace of delivery.

Dr Geeta Aggarwal, consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is the perfect example of industry moving at pace to support the NHS in very challenging times.”

David Millar, managing director of Heap & Partners, said: “Over these past few weeks we are seeing the very best of Britain. Only by industry working closely with the NHS can we bring the coronavirus crisis to an end.”

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Some of the UK’s biggest firms have pooled resources to build much-needed ventilators for the NHS — the “VentilatorChallengeUK” consortium include Airbus, BAE Systems (BA.L), Meggitt (MGGT.L), Ford UK (F), Rolls-Royce (RR.L), several UK-based Formula 1 teams, Siemens Healthineers (SHL.F), and Unilever (UL).

VentilatorChallengeUK confirmed on Thursday that they had secured approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the first model of ventilator developed by the consortium. The group said they intend to produce 1,500 ventilators per week.