As India prepares to deal with the fast-spreading COVID-19 epidemic in the country, Bengaluru-based ventilator exporter Skanray Technologies has ramped up its capacities to support the requirement of the critical care equipment.
The company plans to utilise the network of component suppliers & local manufacturers to ramp up production to 1 lakh in 2-3 months time.
“The idea is to share the design and certain critical components with other companies, which can locally manufacture these ventilators quickly. We are opening up our design IP,” Vishwaprasad Alva, Founder and Managing Director of Skanray Technologies told CNBC-TV18.
Skanray is working with government's think-tank Niti Aayog, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Director General of Health Services and the government of Karnataka on design and supply of locally-sourced components.
The DRDO, in particular, is helping Skanray find equivalent components from other industries. DRDO will help source local components from aeronautical, entertainment and auto industry that can be used in ventilators with a few design changes.
“This is the only way to overcome the shortage. There are components like flow and volume censors that are used in aeronautical industry, which can be used in ventilators too. We just need to alter the design and check for safety,” Alva said.
The company plans to manufacture 1 lakh locally-assembled ventilators in the next two-three months. The company currently has the capacity to manufacture 200 units, and is planning to gradually scale up to make 5,000 units in a month’s time before ramping it up to 30,000 and then to 1 lakh.
Healthcare experts say India could need 1,00,000 ventilators depending on how the COVID-19 epidemic spreads across the country. The SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, affects both upper and lower respiratory tract and critical patients require ventilator support.
The government of Karnataka has placed an order for 1,100 ventilators with Skanray.
The company says orders for 7000 more ventilators are in the final stages from state governments of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu. We will be finalising these orders in a few days, Alva said.
The central government has yet not placed any orders with any company as yet.
“The government shuold consolidate its requirements quickly and place the orders, so we have a clear understanding of what the government wants and we can plan accordingly.”
Skanray has already manufactured one model with lower import content and the redesign was drawn in just 15 days, he added.
The critical components needed for medical devices sector has seen a sharp rise in demand.
However, components for other industries are in good supply and that situation can be utilised in favour of critical equipment manufacture in India.
Currently, no company manufactures 100 percent indigenous ventilators in India. Most companies either import, assemble or partially produce it with components sourced from Europe, US and China.
But this supply has been hampered with the countries restricting critical exports owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other companies like Vadodara-based Max Ventilators and Air Liquide manufacture partially. The rest either import or assemble ventilators in India.
GE Healthcare and Philips import ventilators and other critical care equipment from their global manufacturing hubs.
The government is in talks with all manufacturers to ramp up capacities and collaborate on design elements that can be locally produced.
Skanray makes compressor-based ventilators, which the company says will be optimum for use for care for critical COVID-19 patients. The cost ranges from Rs 5 lakh to 12 lakh.