Which NITs in India offer aerospace technology

Strategic Investment Research Unit (SIRU)


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Indian companies responded efficiently to the Covid-19 pandemic by accelerating innovation, redesigning assembly lines and speeding up the production of everything from N95 masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) to diagnostic kits and ventilators in record time. Notably, India produced 60,000 ventilators in just three months as almost no ventilators were produced domestically. 1 The Third Authorized Group of Secretaries (EGoS) appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was tasked with ensuring the availability and production of essential medical devices, as well as their procurement, import and distribution. When the EGoS was founded in March 2020, chaired by the Secretary of the Pharmaceuticals Department, Dr. PD Vaghela that India would need 75,000 ventilators by June. 2 Accordingly, the government put two companies out to tender: Skanray Technologies from Delhi and AgVa Healthcare in Noida to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in six weeks and 10,000 ventilators in a month by the end of May. 3 Since then, over a dozen companies have increased ventilator manufacturing capacity in India. These include large automotive and information technology (IT) companies, as well as universities and independent startups, and even companies licensed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that emulate the prototype of the Acessible Local (VITAL) fan interval technology developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion laboratory . These ventilators are mostly inexpensive and affordable devices that complement more expensive ventilators that are available in fewer numbers. Through a series of case studies, this report provides vivid details of the exemplary way in which Indian manufacturing rose to the occasion to deliver what the country desperately needed amid a global health crisis. These hand-picked case studies also provide an insight into the design, development and production processes of the India-based ventilator manufacturers.

Making in India

India has traditionally imported fans mainly from Europe and China to meet its requirements. In February there were only eight ventilator manufacturers in the country 4, who recognized the meaning of
In the near future, the Indian government banned the export of ventilators the day before
The country entered a 21-day embargo on March 25, 2020. 5

In March, the responsible EGoS and the Union's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) stated a forecast requirement of 75,000 ventilators by June 2020. 6 Government hospitals had an estimated 8,432 as of March 7 Ventilators, and by May India boasted 19,398 fans nationwide. 8 This was possible because domestic ventilator production increased from 2,500 in February to 5,500-5,750 in March. 9

The EGoS ordered 60,884 ventilators in March from HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), a public sector company (PSU) under the auspices of MoHFW, which was the central procurement agency during the Covid-19 crisis. Of the total orders placed for ventilators, 59,884 went to domestic manufacturers, while 1,000 ventilators were imported 10 . The forecast demand and the orders placed also take into account the requirements of the state governments.

Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Medical Device Rules, companies generally require a license to manufacture items that are listed as essential medical devices. In view of the medical urgency, however, this rule was lifted for manufacturers who had worked with a licensed company.

On May 14, 2020, HLL Lifecare Limited published a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the supply of ventilators to
Government of India Institutes (GoI). 11

As a result, many large local players were commissioned to manufacture fans - including Bharat
Electronics Limited (in partnership with Skanray Technologies) which has ordered 30,000 ventilators 12 ; AgVa Healthcare (in partnership with Maruti Suzuki Limited), which received an order for 10,000 ventilators; 13 and the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ), which ordered 13,500 ventilators. 14 A number of domestic manufacturers have successfully started shipping their orders on the established schedule and are currently in the pre-shipment inspection phase.

To better understand the process of manufacturing ventilators on a large scale, Invest India spoke to key industry stakeholders. Among the many manufacturers who have undertaken this essential role are some case studies listed below.

In response to the announcement by industrialist Anand Mahindra that Mahindra & Mahindra will take over the production of fans, inquiries have been received from many stakeholders, including start-ups. The company then explored a two-pronged approach. The first was a local in-house development - essentially a mechanized ambu bag with many safety features as a temporary lifesaver. The second was a full-fledged mechanical ventilator for use in the intensive care unit for Covid-19
Patient. To develop the latter, Mahindra & Mahindra turned to Skanray and sought their help in designing one
simpler version of the ventilator.

Skanray's research and development team, led by Raghavendra HS, explained the ventilator's design and manufacturing process, technical specifications, functionality and risks to help Mahindra
better understand the device and its complexity. The team was led remotely by Apurbo Kirty, Head of Mobility and Connected Technologies, and each task and milestone was overseen by R. Velusamy, Head of Global Product Development. The Skanray team continued to guide the Mahindra team through the next steps in the ventilator development.

Mahindra has expertise in a variety of fields, from aerospace to state-of-the-art automobiles. Medical technology, however, was a new domain. Although Skanray openly shared the technology behind their most advanced ICU ventilators, both companies explored the main challenge of increasing production to unprecedented levels.

The main focus was on the integration of readily available components and user-friendly controls for paramedics under remote control by doctors. The greenfield emergency ventilator scheme was ready in two days. A team of 50 engineers, including software engineers, electronics engineers, mechanical engineers, procurement engineers, and program managers, were formed from home to detail the design, write the codes, create the bill of materials, and identify suppliers. In order to reduce imports and development times, automotive components for Mahindra vehicles were selected.

The heart of the ventilator, which controls all functions, comes from Marazzo, Mahindra's compact multi-purpose vehicle. The control buttons of the ventilator also come from the switch bank of the center console and the AC switch bank from Marazzo. The classic round instrument cluster of the Jawa motorcycle was used to display parameters such as the volume of ventilated gases, the FiO2 percentage and the mandatory error messages. The backup battery was taken from Mahindra's Treo e-rickshaw.

The most challenging components were the pneumatic proportional flow control valves, which measure air and oxygen in the set ratio and volume. This is an essential part of most modern ventilators and is likely to be in high demand around the world due to the pandemic. To alleviate this situation, Skanray worked in parallel with three suppliers: IMI Norgren, Parker and Emerson. This made it possible to switch to any supplier, depending on availability. A task force has been set up to obtain the necessary permits for more than 20 suppliers to open their factories and allow critical employees to manufacture the necessary parts. Mahindra Logistics did the mammoth task of arranging all the parts in the Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai. The first working prototype was made within seven days. Continuous software tuning and pre-certification tests were conducted with the guidance and assistance of Skanray.

The ventilator is primarily intended for invasive ventilation and is suitable for both adults and pediatrics. It works in the ACMV mode (Assist / Control Mode Ventilators), in which a patient is provided with doses of air in addition to the oxygen mixture according to the set volume, breathing rate and FiO2, depending on the condition and needs. When patients try to breathe on their own, the ventilator automatically switches to assist mode, which enables spontaneous breaths by synchronizing with the patient's lung performance. The ventilator also has pressure support ventilation to help patients gradually end ventilatory support. The simplicity of the ventilator allows it to be used with minimal training. Numerous monitoring parameters are available on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and measuring devices with which users can monitor and set the devices.

Skanray has been delivering these to army and government hospitals through the Infosys Foundation and Narayana Hospitals (NH) since mid-March. The engineers and management at Mahindra and Skanray wish that the country will brave this pandemic quickly, so that there is no need to scale up the ventilator's production.

"Regardless of whether they are used or not, I would like to express my thanks to Skanray, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Velu and the joint team for their outstanding commitment and dedication. They have all made us proud."

Anand Mahindra

Executive Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra

"The new standard requires a high degree of collaboration. This project is a successful example of how independent industries have come together to work towards a common purpose. After several weeks of 24-hour work by our engineers and the Skanray team, ours is specially for Coronavirus engineered ventilator ready for production. "

Dr. Pawan Goenka

Managing Director and CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra

In March 2020, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) partnered with AgVa Healthcare to manufacture 10,000 ventilators in one month. On March 30, 2020, MSIL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AgVa Healthcare and within 10 days, on April 11, 2020, they had their first ventilator manufactured. fifteen

According to the chairman of MSIL, RC Bhargava, Maruti Suzuki had been approached by the government to help manufacture ventilators in the fight against Covid-19. Since the company itself did not have the technology and expertise to make ventilators, they identified a two-year-old company called AgVa Healthcare that had a government-approved ventilator. While AgVa was responsible for the technical knowledge and related affairs, MSIL used its suppliers, experience and knowledge to scale up production. 16

In addition, the state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited supported AgVa Healthcare by providing them with electronic chips for their ventilators . 17

Working together, the companies have steadily increased their daily production rate and by the end of April had already produced 1,250 fans. 18

"Almost every domestic and international flight stalled. All of our suppliers were locked and nothing was moving. At that moment, ramping up fan production was a far-fetched dream. However, during these troubled times, Invest India stepped in. With strong leadership and a capable team, we were able to bypass the problems by getting access to our raw materials. Invest India helped to get all permits to us and our suppliers. Not only that, they also went to great lengths to get the raw materials Air lifted by charter flights. This entire journey to manufacture such a large number of ventilators would have been impossible without the help of Invest India. "

Diwakar Vaish

CEO and Co-Founder of AgVa Healthcare

HP has partnered with Redington 3D in India to successfully manufacture 120,000 ventilator parts for AgVa Healthcare. As part of this initiative, 12 categories of parts were 3D printed to create 10,000 ventilators that are now used across India to treat Covid-19 patients. The parts include inhalation and exhalation connections, valve holders, oxygen nozzles and magnetic holders. Because these components are complex in design and have a fine tolerance, it would have taken four to five months to manufacture these quantities using the traditional process. Using HP 3D printing technology, these parts were printed in just 24 days.

The AgVa Healthcare ventilator is an intensive care ventilator with volume, pressure and flow control. The whole system
can be controlled via a capacitive multi-touch interface without the need for medical compressed air. It is
Extremely portable and can be used in the intensive care unit or in home care. This partnership is part of the global HP
Commitment to the fight against Covid-19. To date, HP and partners have produced more than 2.3 million 3D printed parts. As part of this initiative, HP has expanded its 3D printing team and global digital manufacturing partner network to design, validate and manufacture essential parts for healthcare professionals and hospitals. On June 2, 2020, HP Inc. announced another milestone that will enable frontline workers and communities to use 3D printing to respond to the challenges of Covid-19.

"In these unprecedented and troubled times, HP remains committed to serving the community and those affected by the ongoing health emergency. The successful completion of the AgVa Health Project is a testament to the capabilities of HP's 3D printing technology and how The limitations of design can be removed by producing complex products in a short time. "

Rajat Mehta

Country Manager, 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing, HP India Market

The sudden onset of Covid-19 created an unprecedented situation that placed the health system beyond its capabilities, and ventilators needed to treat critical patients were in short supply. In response to the government's call for "Make in India", Hyundai Motor India (HMI) partnered with Air Liquide Medical Systems (ALMS), a world-leading French manufacturer of ventilators based in Chennai, to explore collaboration opportunities. ALMS has more than 40 years of industry experience and is uniquely positioned as one of the few global companies with a ventilator manufacturing facility in India. HMI has been manufacturing in India for the global market since 1999 and has a sophisticated manufacturing system that allows multiple models with multiple variants to be manufactured on a single line. ALMS technical know-how and large-scale manufacturing capabilities of HMI resulted in a natural synergy between the two companies. They signed an agreement to increase the production volume of ALMS with the aim of gradually producing 1,000 fans to be handed over to the government of Tamil Nadu. During this time, HMI had also been working on an in-house design of a mechanized ambu bag with many safety features as a temporary lifesaver.

ALMS has several ventilators that fall under different categories such as intensive care, emergency and home care in its product range. Orion-G, one of their flagship models, was developed in India and bears the CE mark (Conformitè Europëenne), which certifies compliance with global health and safety standards.The easy-to-use model, specially tailored to the needs of clinicians in India, has extensive ventilation modes, built-in atomization and displays all the required loops and curves with a variety of monitored parameters. The PSV (Pressure Support Ventilation with PEEP 19 ) and PSV-NIV 20 will be central to the clinical treatment of Covid-19 patients. Coupled with the added focus on sourcing raw materials and parts within the country, the company decided Orion-G was the perfect choice.

To begin with, HMI sent a team of experts to the ALMS plant to determine the delays that were limiting production capacity. To remove bottlenecks in the supply chain, HMI first identified alternative providers capable of meeting volume and schedule requirements, assessed the limitations of existing providers to ramp up production, and ensured timely domestic and international orders. These measures ensured the uninterrupted supply that was necessary to increase production capacity.

Then, HMI's manufacturing engineering members carefully assessed the production system, layouts, and employee skills in order to significantly increase production volume and meet current requirements. The team created 3D layouts of the ALMS production facility and redefined the engineering process for continuous output. Based on this assessment, the ALMS team reorganized the existing equipment in order to set up an assembly line with a high process effort, outsource selected non-critical tasks and hire additional workers.

The final review of the production plan resulted in a multi-layered strategy with proposals for investments in special tools, fixtures and fixtures as well as measures to implement strategic process changes and material management. A critical quality test (burn test), which required continuous operation for 72 hours, required a lot of space for the ventilators. Using advanced 3D imaging from HMI, the teams were able to utilize the available space by stacking the ventilators vertically. This idea increased the test capacity six times without having to expand the work area. The teams monitored, assessed, reviewed and made adjustments as necessary.

ALMS created a cross-functional team, proactively optimized manufacturing and quality processes, and monitored work with day-to-day production management systems to ensure they were achieving the set goals. These interventions simplified operations and increased production fivefold to meet current market requirements. The personal commitment and dedication of every member working on this project went a long way in overcoming the challenges and resulted in seamless collaboration between the teams.

Not only did the pandemic situation provide a unique opportunity for two otherwise unusual allies to work together for a larger cause, but it has no doubt enriched the team's personal and professional experience in the process.

"Air Liquide Medical Systems uses all available resources to produce innovative, user-friendly and high-performance ventilators and is confident that this collaboration with Hyundai will bring about a positive change in the fight against Covid-19. ALMS India will continue the Make in India initiative to lead. "

Anil kumar

MD, Air Liquide Medical Systems Pvt Ltd.

"To save precious lives, Hyundai and Air Liquide Medical Systems are partnering with the Indian government to fight war-based Covid-19. We have a moral obligation to serve society by ensuring a steady supply of quality-critical products such as breathing apparatus Maintain ventilators. "

SS Kim

Hyundai Motor India Limited

Dynamatic Technologies' mission was to create an affordable and scalable solution that could be powered directly from an oxygen tank, similar to that used by mountaineers, divers and fighter pilots. The company's best engineers worked long hours, together with doctors and scientists, to develop the concept.

The product PranaVent took shape in a very short time from the drawing board to 3D-printed prototypes. After this
In extensive tests, Dynamatic Technologies developed tools for mass production with an entire ecosystem of the supply chain within a few kilometers of your plant.

When there was a sudden surge in demand, the focus was on scalability.

All parts are made of medical material and the processes are fully compliant with ISO 13485 standards. PranaVent doesn't need electricity to run. Instead, it works directly from the pressure of an oxygen cylinder. Endurance tests according to ISO 10651 were successfully completed without errors. The product is extremely versatile and can support patients with different pressure, flow and breathing frequencies as well as a variable gas proportion mix.

This product is the result of the confluence of engineering, medicine and entrepreneurship at Dynamatic Technologies Limited. From concept to design, prototyping and qualification, the company is ready to mass-produce up to 42,000 mechanical ventilators per month.

"Our goal was to develop a scalable and cost-effective emergency field ventilator / ventilator in the shortest possible time. With the PranaVent we have achieved our goal. Since it does not consume electricity, it can be used in rural areas. And it is. " 100 percent made in India! "

Udayant Malhoutra

CEO and Managing Director,
Dynamatic Technologies Ltd.

Startups to the rescue

In addition to big companies like the ones mentioned above, the Indian startup ecosystem has also come forward to respond to the need of the hour during Covid-19.

According to revised guidelines, which came into effect after March 31, 2020, all medical devices fell under the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) .21 However, the drug regulatory agency has allowed all companies to manufacture ventilators without requiring approval. Indian startups took over the jacket to manufacture fans with unique properties.

This step was crucial in motivating many Indian startups to take on the manufacture of ventilators with unique properties. Young companies devoted to using technology to improve health care and otherwise relying on funding for various permits had an opportunity to make a difference during the crisis. The following section presents case studies of a few startups, many of which have worked towards ventilator development.

With Amaya, a simple fan splitter, Ethereal Machines is preparing India to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Previously, Ethereal Machines has addressed challenges for customers in the medical field and has dealt with the manufacture of implants, prostheses and similar medical devices. However, when Covid-19 reached India, the team began speaking to senior doctors to understand key problem areas. The overwhelming response they received highlighted the lack of ventilators.

The design prototype is based on the development of a device that allows two patients to breathe at the same time. Ethereal Machines succeeded with the help of a strong team of doctors with whom they worked hand in hand. Dr. Working on site, Sonal Asthana and her team from Aster CMI Hospital in Bengaluru were able to anticipate immediate needs and provide important insights for Ethereal.

Amaya was influenced by a response to the need for ventilators in Italy. In Bergamo, where the pandemic was hardest hit, a simple air splitter was used at the front to provide oxygen to two patients instead of one. The splitter would deliver in a 50:50 ratio, but this may not be ideal as patients generally require differential ventilation. Depending on the individual recovery rates, the ratio is either 30:70 or 40:60. Cross contamination between two patients on the same ventilator was an additional problem.

Ethereal Machines believes that in the current situation of global logistics and supply chain upheaval, a solution that can be quickly created on-site could help countless local communities. It will take a long time to equip hospitals across the country with Amaya, so the team wants to make sure the communities are self-sufficient. To that end, they made all of their designs open source so that anyone could replicate the designs and create their own version of Amaya. In the future, this could play a big role in healthcare as communities seek to become self-reliant. Instead of inventing something from scratch, people can simply replicate and improvise a readily available and successful design.

"The Invest India team helped us obtain permits to move to Bengaluru and open our factories."

Kaushik Mudda

CEO and Co-Founder,
Ethereal machines

Nocca Robotics was founded in 2017 by two IIT Kanpur graduates. The startup deals with the development and manufacture of robots for the waterless cleaning of solar modules. It is incubated in the Startup Incubation and Innovation Center of the IIT Kanpur (SIIC-IITK). The company was piloting installation trials with six customers when the Covid-19 lockdown was announced. This sudden stop gave the team time to explore other options.

Under the direction of Professor Amitabha Bandyopadhyay and Dr. Nikhil Aggarwal, CEO, distributed SIIC-IITK a list of Covid-19-related issues across all 63 incubated SIIC-IITK startups. Because of their product design and engineering skills, the Nocca Robotics team decided to develop and develop a fully functional invasive ventilator.

Nocca Robotics' know-how in product design and the excellent med-tech innovation ecosystem of SIIC-IITK became important factors that contributed to the rapid development of this high-end ventilator. SIIC-IITK complemented Nocca's technological endeavors by mobilizing a team of seasoned clinical intensifiers, medical device industry executives, and other business leaders to form an advisory task force to assist the team in achieving this goal.

The task force brought structure to the team that helped develop a ventilator that would meet strict government guidelines. Each member of the task force, together with the Nocca Robotics team and the SIIC incubator team, took care of various segments of product development. For example, one group was responsible for technical development, the other for the supply chain, while a third group focused on getting manufacturers on board. Another group was hired to ensure that product development complies with legal guidelines. Typically, a Category C medical device takes at least three years to develop.

The strong team of engineers, doctors and global business leaders attracted some of the global giants in manufacturing and sales early on. Seasoned executives could catalyze quick interactions, quick decisions, and seamless connections with service providers and seek help when needed.

The team has not only achieved the development of a highly sophisticated and reliable product, but has also ensured that it is manufactured quickly and decentrally and that the end user receives a product that is reliable and offers impeccable service. The development of the ICU ventilator NOCCA V310 is a new paradigm for Indian product development and manufacturing, where a tech-savvy group of young entrepreneurs worked with seasoned business leaders, clinicians, experienced biomedical engineers, and senior medical technology industry leaders to break the groundwork from conception a realizing product to manufacture, at a dizzying speed.

"IIT Kanpur and Nocca Robotics have signed an MoU with public defense company Bharat Dynamics to initially make the fans for India on a non-profit basis, which is expected to be available for about 3.5 lakh INR ($ 4,635) per unit while the price of imported Ventilators with similar specifications starts at 12 lakh ($ 15,894) and goes up to 25 lakh ($ 33,113) per unit. "

Amitabha Bandyopadhyaya

Nocca Robotics

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, Indian Railways developed an inexpensive ventilator at their Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory. The device, called the Jeevan, comes at a time when health services across the country are grappling with a shortage of medical equipment. In late April, the prototype product was awaiting approval by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) before going into mass production. 22

"In the fight against the coronavirus, the engineers at Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory have developed a prototype ventilator called 'Jeevan' that is extremely inexpensive. This indigenous technology ventilator will be a great relief for our comrades battling the coronavirus epidemic . 23 "

Piyush Goyal

Union Minister for Railways

Amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases in March 2020, the faculty at IIT Roorkee was trying to figure out how they could help fight the virus. This is how the Prana Vayu ventilator was developed. The team behind this affordable, portable ventilator consists of Professors Akshay Dvivedi and Arup Kumar Das, as well as their PhD students from IIT Roorkee and Dr. Debendra Tripathi from AIIMS, Rishikesh. Prana-Vayu does not require compressed air and is suitable for Covid-19-specific support of the airways.

Research and development for the ventilator began during the lockdown when there was no market access. However, the local administration provided the necessary travel permits for access to the local market. The prototype of the first version of the Prana Vayu ventilator was presented in a webinar organized by the Indian Industry Association (CII) on April 2, 2020, in which the Prana Vayu aroused great interest. The first version of the ventilators worked on the controlled operation of the prime mover to deliver the required amount of air to the patient and had automated the process of controlling the pressure and flow rates in the inhalation and exhalation lines. The ventilator also had feedback that could control tidal volume and breath per minute. The team then designed and manufactured the ventilator in the Tinkering Lab, IIT Roorkee, using local components.

Additional ventilation modes, safety functions and user interfaces were developed and integrated into subsequent versions of Prana-Vayu in order to transform it from an emergency ventilator into a full-fledged one. A test lung was also used to check the effectiveness of Prana Vayu. These tests were repeated many times and necessary refinements were made based on the analysis. The latest version of Prana-Vayu has been successfully tested for compliance with the Human Patient Simulator (HPS) at AIIMS in Rishikesh, where an independent medical team tested each mode for functionality in different environments and under different lung conditions. Different modes of the Prana Vayu ventilator were also tested on a SARS-COVID lung model. Currently, PranaVayu has real-time airway monitoring with the wired or remote interface and has 13 advanced mechanical ventilation modes. It can be used for both invasive and non-invasive ventilation. It can be further developed as a full life support industrial product that can compete with the most advanced versions available on the market.

Biodesign Innovation Labs is contributing to Indian ventilation capacity with RespirAID, an emergency and transport ventilator that can save lives. It is an automated airway support and invasion device that provides intermittent positive pressure ventilation to patients with respiratory disease and patients who require immediate stabilization through sedation and intubation.It is affordable, portable, easy to use and, in addition to alarms, offers all essential functions such as respiratory rate, tidal volume, inspiratory expiratory ratio, peak pressure and PEEP.

In March 2020, Biodesign Innovation Labs partnered with Remidio Innovative Solutions, a medical device manufacturer, to mass-produce RespirAID. Remidio was granted a nonexclusive license to provide supply chain and engineering support in the manufacture of RespirAID ventilators. In addition to Remidio, agreements have also been signed with KRAS and Cyient that enable them to manufacture RespirAID on a contractual basis. This helped scale production from an original target of 1,000-5,000 units to 50,000 units for the Indian and global markets by the end of the year. To ensure safety and performance, all Biodesign devices are tested in the Technical Inspection Association (TUV) laboratory.

"Invest India, Startup India, the Indian government and the government of Karnataka support Biodesign in logistical and supply chain issues. The Center for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (CCAMP) and the IKP Knowledge Park, a science and technology for the promotion of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and energy have also supported Biodesign in their outreach activities. "

Gautham Pasupalethi

Co-Founder and Chairman,
Biodesign Innovation Labs

Project leader Zulqarnain, a freshman at IIT Bombay's Industrial Design Center, was visiting his hometown in Kashmir when the lockdown was announced and the institute closed. As the number of cases increased worldwide, Zulqarnain learned that there were only 97 ventilators in the Kashmir Valley. He felt an urgent need for more ventilators that would also help alleviate people's worries.

Zulqarnain then teamed up with his friends from the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and NIT Srinagar. With the support of the Design Innovation Center (DIC) at IUST in Pulwama, the team successfully developed a cost-effective ventilator with locally available materials. While their original goal was to replicate a proven design, they soon developed their own design of the ventilator as work on the ventilator progressed.

Zulqarnain proudly notes, “The prototype cost the team around INR 10,000, and if we choose to mass produce it, the cost will be much lower. While high-end ventilators used in hospitals cost lakhs rupees, Ruhdaar has the features that can provide adequate respiratory support to save the life of a seriously ill Covid-19 patient. " 24

The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) is an institute of national importance under the Department of Science and Technology. In collaboration with Wipro 3D in Bengaluru, a prototype of an emergency ventilation system based on the artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU) was built.

The ventilators can help meet the urgent requirements of Covid-19. The ambu bag or bag valve mask (BVM) is a hand-held device that is used to overpressure a patient who is either not breathing or is breathing insufficiently. However, the use of a regular AMBU requires some help for its operation. As this would make the aid very vulnerable to the virus, it is not advisable. Sree Chitra's AMBU automated ventilator, developed with input from clinical faculty, helps critical patients who do not have access to intensive care ventilators to breathe.

This device is portable and light and enables, among other things, positive pressure ventilation with a controlled expiration rate, inspiratory to expiratory ratio, and tidal volume. A PEEP valve can also be added as an additional component to maintain pressure on the lower airways at the end of the breathing cycle and to prevent the alveoli from collapsing during exhalation. The pressurized gas source can also be connected to the system. The automatic device minimizes the need for auxiliary staff in the isolation room and thus enables safe and effective lung protection surgery for Covid-19 patients. 25

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its constituent laboratory National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) in Bengaluru have a non-invasive BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) ventilator to treat Covid-19 patients in a record time of 36 days developed. The ventilator with the name SwasthVayu is a microcontroller-based, precise adaptive control system with closed loop control and a built-in biocompatible "3D-printed manifold and coupler". It also has a Highly Efficient Particulate Air (HEPA) filter which reduces the risk of the virus spreading. The ventilator has features such as spontaneous, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); Time-controlled and automatic BiPAP mode with provision for the external connection of an oxygen concentrator or an enrichment unit. The system has been certified for safety and performance by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). In addition, rigorous biomedical testing and clinical beta studies were conducted at the NAL Health Center.

The advantage of this machine is its simplicity. It can be used without special care, is inexpensive, compact, and configured mainly with domestic components. It is ideal for treating Covid-19 patients in wards, emergency hospitals, pharmacies and homes. CSIR-NAL is in the process of advancing the ventilator with regulators for approval, which is expected shortly. The dialogue with large public and private industries as potential partners in mass production has already started. 26

Partnership with the best in the world

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JLP) in Southern California has designed a ventilator specifically for coronavirus patients. In just over a month, JPL engineers developed the special ventilator called Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Local (VITAL) and received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 30, 2020. 27

VITAL uses a seventh as many parts as a conventional ventilator and relies on components that are already available in supply chains. This high pressure ventilator is a simple and affordable option for treating critical Covid-19 patients that allows traditional ventilators to be used for patients with the most severe symptoms. The ventilator's flexible design allows it to be modified for use in field hospitals.

Three Indian companies have been selected and licensed to manufacture NASA's coronavirus ventilators. These are Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd., Bharat Forge Ltd. and Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd.


Colonel HS Shankar

Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd.

1. Congratulations on licensing NASA to manufacture their Covid-19 specific ventilator VITAL. Could you please explain your proposal and the process of obtaining the license?

It's a proud moment for Alpha Design, a subsidiary of Adani Defense Systems & Technologies Ltd. (ADTL) in India to be recognized by NASA for the Covid-19 specific ventilator. We can assure you that Alpha Design will leave no stone unturned to meet the expectations of the regulatory agency NASA and to supply the product with the necessary approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the ICMR in India. The license was granted to Alpha Design after a careful process facilitated by NASA to select capable industrial partners in unprecedented times. The procedure for obtaining the license is as follows:

  • There were two models of the ventilator (pneumatic ventilator and compressor fan) that were jointly developed by JPL under NASA and Caltech University.
  • Interested industrial partners had to register with NASA for the ventilation program and submit the proposal.
  • Alpha Design and its experts had engagement sessions with NASA to guide them through the company's capabilities including its technical and operational expertise.
  • ADTL's capabilities combined with its entrepreneurial approach helped JPL and Caltech select ADTL for both models of ventilator, including the fan-pneumatic model and the fan-compressor model.

2. Alpha Design Technology's manufacturing expertise is more focused on defense and related equipment. How did you prepare to make ventilators with such specificity?

The primary design of these ventilators uses electromechanical modules in the form of printed circuit board assemblies, display units, controls and signal processing with built-in firmware, including solenoids, valves, etc. The entire architecture is housed in a robust housing The mechanical structure and all connectivity is via electronically activated circuitry. This is therefore in line with the expertise ADTL has built over the past two decades in manufacturing military-grade electronic equipment for the armed forces.

Alpha Design's existing infrastructure for manufacturing electronic defense devices can be seamlessly used to manufacture ventilators to specific specifications. The human skills, technological capabilities and quality management systems that are part of the electronic defense equipment seem to be of great importance to the ventilators.

It should be noted that Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), a large defense electronics manufacturing organization in India under the Ministry of Defense, was selected by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) because of synergies with their system and to manufacture ventilators Electronics skills. The same goes for Alpha Design, which can make world-class ventilators.

3. Does the move to ventilator manufacturing challenge your existing supply chains? How do you intend to cope with these challenges?