he Irish manufacturer Combilift, best known for its range of space-saving

forklifts and other handling solutions, has drawn on its expertise in engineering and software design to develop the Combi- Ventilate, a splitter device which turns one ventilator into multiple ventilation stations. Designed to address the requirements of

medical professionals in the current Covid-19 emergency, the Combi-Ventilate was developed by a team of mechatronic and software engineers in the past five weeks and a unit is currently undergoing laboratory tests with Ger Curley, Professor of Anaesthesia & Critical Care at Royal College of Surgeon’s in Beaumont Hospital. Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder Combilift

said: “Certain countries and cities are struggling to get enough ventilators and many governments and health authorities are encouraging manufacturers to come up with a solution, as did the HSE in Ireland. Instead of actually developing ventilators we analysed what is really required, as we do in our usual business models.” The Combi-Ventilate uses standard pipes and

fittings for easy assembly and its individual patient filters prevent cross contamination. Each patient has a dedicated screen which allows medical professionals to individually monitor their vital information. This includes live values, data on patient history and statistics and adjustable alarm settings. Features include non-return valves, HEPA filters, flow sensors and an automatic flow control valve. Any abnormalities

that occur are detected and will only trigger that specific patient’s alarm. The Combi-Ventilate has automatically adjustable flow control valves which allow the health service professional control the tidal volume to each patient electronically without having to make manual adjustments. “When we are developing equipment, we

listen closely to our customers in order to perfect and improve the product. This approach in our collaboration with the HSE is what has got us where we are today. This is very much designed as an attachment which can be added to any brand of ventilator. It costs a fraction of a standard ventilator and can be installed very easily into an ICU unit environment. We have made Combi-Ventilate with the same objective as we do with all our products - which is all about doing more with less,” said McVicar. “We have undertaken this non-profit

endeavour in order to meet the demands of the global crisis for health services around the world, namely the lack or shortage of ventilators. The medical device sector is not our core business but making equipment which keeps people safe has always been our focus and this latest project, driven by our desire to help during these difficult times, mirrors what our research and development has done for the last 20 years.” Minister for Business, Enterprise and

Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD: “Combilift have had huge success all over the world because their number one priority is finding solutions. That’s why it should be no surprise to



elcome to the

May issue of Irish Manufacturing. I hope that you’re all

keeping well in this challenging time. In this months issue we look at Industry 4.0, test & measurement, storage optimisation, datacentres, tools & tooling equipment, energy management and springs & fasteners. If you are interested in

contributing to a future issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me for an updated features list. Likewise if you have any

stories on how your company is aiding the effort against Covid-19, please send them over to be featured on our website. More up to date news irishmanufacturing Rachel Tucker - Editor

uhtamaki helps fight the Coronavirus pandemic by

expanding its manufacture of protective face shields (PFS). Ramping up to produce 8 million shields per week in June, for health care workers and other close contact occupations. Huhtamaki, the global leader in

sustainable food on-the-go and food on-the-shelf packaging solutions, is expanding the production of its CE marked high- quality protective face shields for health care workers and others that need increased hygiene and safety protection. This is on the back of its recent

scaling up of the industrial manufacture of protective face shields (PFS) at its folded carton unit in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Initially this was the result of a partnership with a local partner, seeking to alleviate the severe shortage of personal protective equipment for local health care workers fighting COVID-19. Huhtamaki is now leveraging its know-how and planning to ramp up the production of this essential personal protective equipment through production at five additional locations in Europe.


protecting people, food and the planet, and is proud to be able to leverage its core capabilities to make a difference where it matters most. To manufacture the PFS’s the company is repurposing its folding carton packaging machinery to precision-cut optically clear and lightweight visors. For extra comfort and to ensure a close fit for increased safety for all head sizes, the visors are then combined with a padded adjustable strap. For hygiene and safety reasons the protective face shields are a single use product. The visor is made of PET that can be recycled and Huhtamaki is looking into making the face shields 100 per cent recyclable in the future. At medical facilities however, once used the face shields are treated as medical waste. The protective face shields are

for frontline and essential workers including care-home workers as well as retail, pharmacy and home care staff. They can also be used for other close contact occupations. The shields are CE marked and conform to PPE Category I in Regulation (EU) 2016/425 on personal protective equipment,

see this initiative in our national and global effort to defeat Covid-19. Their hallmark as a company is innovation and adaptability, and this splitter device is testament to that. I would like to commend them on their wonderful achievement and wish them every success as they bring the product to market.” Dr Michael Power, National Clinical Lead,

Critical Care Programme Irish health service: “The Combi-Ventilate is a valuable attachment for ventilators for use in an ICU setting in that unwanted scenario where you only have one ventilator for multiple patients. It removes that horrible dilemma. It is an engineered solution which delivers the correct volume of air to each patient safely and reliably. The Combi-Ventilate project is an example of a collaboration between the engineering and the manufacturing industry and the Health Service Executive (HSE). It is an agile project, completed in five weeks.”

providing a high level of protection for the eyes and face from liquid splashes and droplets. The shield design allows for prescription eyewear and medical masks to be comfortably worn underneath. “In addition to helping front-line

health care workers fight the pandemic by doing what we can to ensure they have the protective equipment they need, we also want to help the society to recover. With the protective face shields, we can help people in close contact occupations return to work safely,” says Eric Le Lay, President for Huhtamaki Fiber and Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania. “The face shields are also ideal for the food service industry, personal care, retail as well as manufacturing operations – anywhere people work in close contact with each other,” he continues. The Belfast operation is already

producing four million face shields per week for the NHS in the UK. With the additional manufacturing units, the total number of shields Huhtamaki is able to produce is expected to increase to approximately eight million shields per week in June.


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