Inside Logistics

Combilift pivots to produce ventilator splitter

The Combi-Ventilate was developed by a team of engineers in the past five weeks


Combilift has engineered a splitter for medical ventilators.

April 30, 2020
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Monaghan, Ireland – Irish forklift manufacturer Combilift, has designed and developed a splitter that allows one medical ventilator to serve multiple patients.

Designed to address the requirements of medical professionals in the current Covid-19 emergency, the Combi-Ventilate was developed by a team of mechatronic and software engineers in the past five weeks with a unit currently undergoing laboratory tests.

“Instead of actually developing ventilators we analyzed what is really required, as we do in our usual business models,” said Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder Combilift. .

“We have undertaken this non-profit endeavour in order to meet and facilitate the demands of the global crisis for health services around the world, namely the lack or shortage of ventilators. The medical device sector is not our core business but making critical equipment which keeps people safe and alive has always been our focus and this latest project, driven by our desire to help during these difficult times, mirrors what our research and development has done for the last 20 years. If our product can save lives, if we can make a difference during these hard times then we are making the world a better place for everyone.”

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.

Features include non-return valves, HEPA filters, flow sensors and an automatic flow control valve. Any abnormalities that occur are detected and will only trigger that specific patient’s alarm.

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.

“The Combi-Ventilate is a safe and reliable attachment for ventilators for use in an ICU setting in that unwanted scenario where you have one ventilator for multiple patients. It removes that horrible dilemma,” said Dr. Michael Power, national clinical lead, critical care program with the Irish health service.

“The Combi-Ventilate is safe and reliable. It is an engineered solution which delivers the correct volume of air to each patient. The Combi-Ventilate project is an example of a collaboration between the engineering and the manufacturing industry and the Health Service Executive (HSE, Ireland’s health department).

“We have made Combi-Ventilate under the same ethos and with the same objective as we do with all our the Combilift products – which is all about doing more with less,” said McVicar.

“When we are developing equipment, we listen closely to our customers in order to perfect and improve the product. That approach in our collaboration with the HSE, is what has really 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. This is a not-for-profit activity which we hope will open up more opportunities for Combilift in the medical device area in future.”