Preliminary Design and Development of a Mechanical Ventilator Using Industrial Automation Components for Rapid Deployment During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cureus. 2021 Dec 13;13(12):e20386. doi: 10.7759/cureus.20386. eCollection 2021 Dec.


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) created a shortage of mechanical ventilators in the healthcare sector, resulting in rationed distribution, ethical dilemmas, and high mortalities. This technical report outlines the design and product outcome of a mechanical ventilator based on readily available off-the-shelf components, minimizing the dependence on manufacturing facilities. The ventilator was designed to operate in both hospitals and remote locations, having the ability to operate off various gas pressures and low voltage supplies. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the challenges of developing a device in an online setting with minimal manufacturing assistance were explored. Within a 10-day period, the team designed, prototyped, and conducted preliminary feasibility testing on the mechanical ventilator. The proposed design was not intended to replace, or be used as a medically approved ventilator, but demonstrates the ability to exploit off-the-shelf components to enable fast development and assembly.

Keywords: covid 19; industrial automation; mechanical ventilator; rapid development; real time operation.