6 July 2020
STFC’s team tested and calibrated ventilators produced at Penlon’s Abingdon facility as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK project
Credit: STFC/Chris Pulker
Technicians, engineers and scientists from STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have helped deliver 13,437 ventilators as part of Ventilator Challenge UK, more than doubling the stock available to the NHS.
The STFC team, based in Harwell, Oxfordshire, led the training of hundreds of others to test the new ventilators produced by Penlon at its nearby facility in Abingdon.
Initially STFC staff, with a colleague from Diamond Light Source, helped to develop a training manual for testing and calibrating Penlon's ventilator. Then the STFC team of more than 70 people provided support in testing and logistics during the project, contributing to the safe production and delivery of Penlon ventilators to the NHS.
The testing team monitored pressure and air flow through the ventilator while it inflated and deflated a set of steel "lungs".
Geoff Gilley is a senior engineer in STFC's Technology department. He said:
"It was a privilege to be a part of the Ventilator Challenge UK. I was inspired by working alongside people from all walks of life and levels of experience, all of whom passionately collaborated to achieve as much as possible. As a scientist I routinely have to tackle novel technical challenges and it was exceptionally rewarding to apply those skills to this vital project."
Dr Kristian Harder is from STFC's Particle Physics Department. He said:
"Our small but effective team of scientists, engineers and technicians volunteered to help with this urgent task and we were able to support, train, and, in some cases, lead parts of the testing and rework effort. We've made interesting connections outside the research community that will persist beyond the end of the Ventilator Challenge."
Dr Anna Orlowska, Director of Technology for STFC, said:
"It has been great to see our brilliant staff sharing the skills and expertise gained from their work at our world-leading science facilities and instruments and play their part in the Ventilator Challenge. Few organisations in the country have such versatile, effective and enthusiastic technical people who could contribute as much as they have in such a short time frame. The work done by the consortium is a major achievement and STFC has shown how our expertise and training are of great value. The staff involved have been superb ambassadors for STFC and can be very proud of what they have achieved."
The consortium of UK aerospace, motorsport, automotive and medical businesses has delivered critical Penlon ESO 2 and Smiths paraPACTM plus ventilators to the NHS since 19 March.
VentilatorChallengeUK made its last shipment of finished ventilators on Sunday 5 July after which Consortium businesses will return to regular production.
Last updated: 06 July 2020