Local Business AMPcontrol Pivots To Develop and Manufacture Vital Ventilators For Treatment Of COVID-19

AMPcontrol’s Chris Bird, Product Development Manager, with Tim Wylie, Chief Technology Officer and Aaron Breese, Senior Control Systems Engineer, delivering the locally produced ventilator to the John Hunter Hospital for testing.

LOCAL companies are proving that the Port Stephens region is at the top of its game with AMPcontrol pivoting to manufacture critically needed ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Collaboration and innovation has seen a truly timely solution engineered in our backyard to meet a vastly increased Australian and worldwide need.

The NSW Government is partnering with local universities and manufacturers to produce ventilators as part of its COVID-19 response, with two prototypes already underway.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said pre-production is expected to take around six weeks and if a shelf-ready model complies with the necessary regulatory requirements, full production can begin.

Tragically as we go back to the new normal with businesses reopening we know there will be more cases of COVID-19 in the community.

However, now our health system will be equipped to deal with patients’ needs.

“We know with the easing of restrictions there could be a rise in COVID-19 infections and if a second wave hits, we want our hospitals to have all the equipment they need,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“If those models are confirmed to align with Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requirements full production can commence, if our hospitals require more ventilators.” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government is doing all it can to combat global shortages of vital medical equipment to ensure NSW has the back-up it needs.

“Every country around the world is facing disrupted medical supply chains but we need ventilators – they can be the difference between life and death,” Mr Hazzard said. “COVID-19 infects cells in the lungs causing oxygen levels to drop and a ventilator is a crucial piece of equipment that helps critically ill patients to breathe.

“To have local manufacturers who are able to supply much-needed equipment to support frontline health workers – in this case a consortium led by the University of Sydney and another by Newcastle-based Ampcontrol – is absolutely invaluable.”

AMPcontrol is situated at Tomago.

The NSW Government invested an extra $800 million to support NSW Health during the COVID-19 crisis, with $10 million to encourage NSW businesses to urgently undertake pilot projects to produce ventilators and other critical medical equipment.

Ampcontrol engineers designed and delivered the first functional emergency ventilator prototype to the John Hunter Hospital Simulation Unit for testing by specialist clinicians just 18 days.

Production of 10 pilot ventilators will now commence undertaking further clinical assessment and testing with NSW Health, with the objective of enabling 600 ventilators to be rapidly built in the Hunter region if the need arises.

Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson said, “We are so immensely proud to be able to do our part and lead this critical health project in the manufacture of emergency ventilator solutions.

Knowing that our ventilator could help save lives in the fight against COVID-19 is incredible.

”In collaboration with local clinicians and two Hunter-based specialist electrical engineering companies, Safearth and Newie Ventures, the brain power of over 20 engineers across multiple disciplines worked around the clock to design and produce the emergency ventilator prototype.

To quickly accelerate its knowledge of ventilator systems, the team engaged with specialist clinicians from Hunter New England Local Health District and the University of Newcastle to guide solutions and minimise clinical and deployment risks, as well as coordinating with other groups working with NSW Health on other prototype ventilator solutions.

“We specialise in resources, infrastructure, and energy solutions, and what the team has achieved in partnership with clinicians in such a short time frame is nothing short of outstanding and a testament to the engineering excellence and ingenuity in our country.

We have been able to rapidly swing our world-leading expertise and production facilities into manufacturing critical emergency medical equipment right here in the Hunter.

”We have such highly advanced manufacturing capability and ingenuity in our country. It is so important that industry and Government work together so that we can continue to produce innovative solutions and products here in Australia that make a difference to people’s lives around the globe”, Rod added.



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