Combilift ventilator innovation will help in Covid-19 fight

6 May 2020

Irish forklift manufacturer Combilift has drawn on its expertise in engineering and software design to develop an innovation which will help the medical world deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company took just five weeks to invent the Combi-Ventilate, a splitter device which turns one ventilator into multiple ventilation stations.

The Combi-Ventilate, developed by a team of mechatronic and software engineers, is currently undergoing laboratory tests with Ger Curley, Professor of Anaesthesia & Critical Care at Royal College of Surgeon’s in Beaumont Hospital.

“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,” said Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder Combilift.

“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.

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," added Mr McVicar.

"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.

The endeavour is non-profit and designed to meet the demands of the global crisis for health services around the world, namely the lack or shortage of ventilators.

“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,” said Dr Michael Power, National Clinical Lead, Critical Care Programme Irish health service.

“It is an engineered solution which delivers the correct volume of air to each patient safely and reliably.” Ronnie McDermott, National Medical Device Equipment Advisor, said the system would be very useful in the developing world countries who may not have the luxury to go out and purchase many ventilators.

“Splitting a ventilator is now a viable solution,” he said.

To see a video of the system visit Combi-Ventilate

Launching Combi-Ventilate - Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Robert Moffett Co-Founder & Technical Director, Combilift, Martin McVicar, Co-Founder & CEO, Combilift, Antonio Patacho, Combilift.