3D printed ventilator through MOH-UTM collaboration

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PUTRAJAYA: To meet the increasing demand for respiratory aid products in treating Covid-19 patients, in the intensive care units (ICU), the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has developed a ventilator prototype. 

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Engineering Faculty dean Datuk Prof Ir Dr Mohammed Rafiq Abdul Kadir said the ventilator prototype for use, should the Covid-19 situation in the country reaches a critical stage, was developed using 3D printing technology.

“The idea of this ventilator came from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) as they have been using such ventilators for emergency or war situations where one ventilator should suffice for two patients.

“We have two different units; one is more robust while the other is a portable unit. The portable ventilator costs around RM1,000 while the robust type costs between RM2,000 and RM3,000.

“This is for emergency use, so it is not the same as the ones used in hospitals which can cost you hundreds of thousands, depending how sophisticated they are. We are not competing with the established brands,” he said when met by Bernama after a Health Engineering Innovation Strategic Collaboration media briefing here today.

Mohammed Rafiq said the ventilators were already functional but the Medical Device Authority would have to examine them first, as required under the Medical Devices Act 2012.

He said a close circuit was not required for the splitter kit which allows a ventilator to be used by more than one patient, to prevent spread of infection among patients.

“If two patients require different settings, then this may complicate matters. If we do need to split the device, the biggest issue is cross infection.

“However, if both patients require the same settings, there is no problem,” he said.

So far, 5,035 ventilator units are available at MOH hospitals while another 99 units have been loaned to its concessionaires.

Mohammed Rafiq said the research and studies to produce the device required very little cost as they made use of materials which had already been studied by researchers from around the world, including Poland and the Netherlands.

The materials include polylactic acid for the printable parts, elastic materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane and pneumatic actuator, power supply, source for pneumatic pressure for the industrial parts.

A Research and Development Engineering team was subsequently established and based at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build the ventilator prototype.

“The design concept for the prototype device required minimal hardware such as pneumatic actuator, limit switch, check valve, power supply and 3D printing,” added Mohammed Rafiq. – Bernama

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