Southern Railway's Golden Rock Workshop develops Prototype of Non-invasive low cost ventilator (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to COVID-19 Patients

Prototype of Non-invasive low cost ventilator (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to COVID-19 Patients
“Project SWAAS”
Designed and Developed by Golden Rock workshop (GOC), Southern Railway

Entire world is fighting against the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Considering the dense population and the exponential increase in rate of corona positive cases, there is a huge demand for ventilators as more than 40 percent of COVID-19 patients develop ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome).A ventilator sometimes called respirator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air in and out of the lungs to deliver the breaths to a patient who is unable to breath or breathing insufficiently.
In an effort to join hands with the nation in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic outbreak Golden Rock workshop (GOC), Tiruchy launched “Project SWAAS” for the development of a low cost ventilator system which meets the required clinical parameters. A team was formed with officers, engineers and doctors from Railway Hospital- Perambur, Ponmalai & Madurai, Govt. Medical College Kottayam, AIIMS Delhi. When the nation was going through lockdown, bringing the group together was made possible through Whatsapp and virtual meetings. Once the technical requirements were finalized, Golden Rock team went to their sketch board. Simplicity of design, Portability, feasibility of mass production with available resources were the design considerations the team had to address.

The team zeroed in on actuating the AMBU bag by suitable mechanical system which can be controlled electronically to obtain the desired clinical parameters such as Breath per minute(BPM), Tidal Volume (TiV) and Inspiration to Expiration (IE) ratio.The ventilator can be connected with an external oxygen supply to provide desired Fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) concentration. Based on the control parameters set by the doctor,a programmed electronic control unit calculates the time period ,speed and extend to  which the AMBU bag has to be mechanically actuated in order to deliver air at the required quantity.The ventilator has multiple modes of operation along with a pendant for the patient to alert the medical professional by means of a buzzer and an emergency stop. The ventilator operates on 230 V AC power supply along with battery backupfor 24hours operation ensuring uninterrupted working even in case of power failure.Real time monitoring of control parameters is facilitated through an LCD display unit.

Majority of the components used for the system were made in house and required medical kits were procured through trade. The cost involved in developing the ventilator prototype is approximately Rs. 25,000. Based on the feedback from Pulmonologist, Railway Hospital, further improvement is being made by incorporating pressure & flow sensor which will accurately monitor the Peak Inspiratory Pressure(PIP)  and  Positive Peak expiratory Pressure(PEEP) and Inspired volume which may further increase the cost .Once  the prototype  is approved by the competent authority GOC workshop is planning to start bulk manufacturing of ventilator as per demand.

Apart from the above, Golden Rock Workshop, Ponmalai is also engaged in myriad of activities to handle the COVID-19 pandemic situation such as conversion of sleeper coaches of COVID-19 isolation wards, hospital cots, Oxygen cylinder trolleys, Splitter for Oxygen cylinder, Hand sanitizers, Face masks, PPE suits for medical professionals, Foot pedal operated hand wash system.