How the engineering industry is helping to battle COVID-19 (and how to join them)

Engineer Live News Desk

We're all doing our bit to help in the fight against coronavirus and engineering companies have their own unique role to play. Here, Kelly Friel, Digital Product Manager at industrial tools and PPE retailer Zoro, explains how the engineering industry can help in the battle to fight COVID-19.

With coronavirus now a global problem, the government is calling on engineers and businesses all across the world to help out. Since many manufacturing and engineering companies are having to put ordinary production procedures on hold, they're looking at alternative ways to utilise their materials and resources in order to build equipment for the medical industry and help save lives. Below, I'll be going through the ways the engineering industry can help fight COVID-19, including some examples and tips on how you can get started.

In order to beat the virus as quickly and effectively as possible, it's important for businesses outside of the healthcare industry to help out. 

Help build hospital ventilators

There's currently a shortage of ventilators for coronavirus patients and engineering companies, no matter how big or small, have the facilities to help out. For example, advanced material cutting business Bindatex has altered its production to begin die cutting discs that can be used in filters for NHS ventilators. Similarly, engineers from UCL and doctors at University College London hospital (UCLH), along with engineers at Mercedes Formula 1, have worked together to create a specialist device which delivers oxygen to the lungs, without the need for invasive ventilators. It's hoped that this technology can help keep patients out of intensive care wards.

If you think you can help, the UK Government has produced detailed guidance on the clinical requirements of a ventilator. This information can be used by engineering and manufacturing companies to produce acceptable hospital ventilators.

PPE equipment for healthcare staff

Hospital staff around the world are putting themselves on the front line to help treat patients with coronavirus. But, unfortunately, there's currently a shortage of PPE to help keep medical staff safe. That's why engineering companies are offering their expertise and facilities to help out. For example, 3D printing company Stratasys has announced that they'll be making use of its resources to create face shields for medical professionals and law enforcement.

In the UK, engineers at The Royal Mint have also announced their own design and production of medically approved visors and are planning on releasing their designs online so other engineering and manufacturing companies can follow suit. They're also calling on manufacturing companies to supply 1.0mm PET clear plastic if they can, so production can continue. If you think you might be able to help, you can contact them via 

How can I sign up to help?

If you’re in the UK and think your company can help out during these difficult times, you can fill out the government's online form or email to outline what kind of help or equipment your business can provide. They'll then contact you if and when your help is needed. 

If you've got materials, resources or tools that can be used in the manufacturing of PPE equipment, you can contact or donate to Engineering for Doctors. You can also register your interest with Open Source Ventilator, which is a team of engineers, designers, and medical professionals that share ideas and plans in a bid to maximise the production of ventilators.

Alternatively, the Royal Academy of Engineering is also calling out for expert engineers to help in the fight. You can fill out the online form to share your ideas and expertise to help fight the virus. 

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