A note from Dick Elsy, Chairman of VCUK
The past 12 weeks has been, by any measure, an incredible journey. In March, we set out with one single mission: to support the NHS and save lives and last night, we watched with pride as the final ventilator was shipped from Penlon to the NHS on its 72nd birthday.
Let’s just take a moment to reflect on what we have achieved in this time. Against a backdrop of life or death urgency, we have worked together with a speed, energy, and determination our businesses could only have dreamt of.
We have procured millions of parts through new supply chains and complex logistics networks in the midst of a global pandemic, built seven new large-scale manufacturing sites within weeks rather than months, switched production from aeroplane wings and car engines to medical devices almost overnight, and delivered an astonishing 13,437 ventilators.
The spirit of the programme has been evident in every corner, from the leaders I have worked with every day to the sub-assembly production team in Broughton, Dagenham and Luton. Every business, every person in the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium represents the very best of our country, this has been engineering’s finest hour and we have been a stellar showcase for the capability of the UK industry. There is much to be learnt from this enterprise that was forged from a crisis and we will spend time over the coming months to capture the essence of the success so we can benefit from it as a nation.
I want to thank every person for rising to the challenge, for sacrificing so much to support our country and ensure as many people as possible could fight and defeat this virus and survive to return to their families. I hope you feel as much pride as I do in what we have achieved together.
Please follow the link below to hear Michael Gove’s comments.
- Yesterday marked the final day of production on the Penlon workstream following the wind-down of the Smiths workstream last week. In total, the consortium has produced an incredible 13,437 devices, achieving in only 12 weeks something which would normally take many months or even years
- Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, said about the Consortium today:
“The Ventilator Challenge has been a great success and I would like to thank every manufacturer and designer, and their incredible workforces, for the huge part they’ve played in the national effort to protect our NHS and save lives. In around three months, industry has stepped up to make 14,000 new machines to save lives on the NHS frontline and to help safeguard against any future outbreak. The Ventilator Challenge has shown that UK manufacturing always rises to the challenge at a time of national need. Everyone involved is truly a hero of the coronavirus crisis.
- Government Chief Commercial Officer Gareth Rhys Williams, said about the Consortium today: “That was not easy, but you made it look easy. Astonishing. Thank you.”
An overview of key achievements:
- Established, from scratch, seven new large-scale manufacturing facilities at Airbus AMRC Cymru in Broughton, Ford in Dagenham, GKN Aerospace in Luton and Cowes, McLaren in Woking, Rolls-Royce in Filton and STI in Hook, as well as restructuring existing sites Smiths Medical in Luton and Penlon in Abingdon.
- Ventilator peak production exceeded 400 devices a day, with the shortest time taken to achieve 1000 ventilators being 3 days
- Set- up new parallel supply chains and acquired around 42 million parts and electronic components through a complex logistics network that saw DHL design and implement an end-to-end supply chain in only 1.5 weeks
- Despite global competition for parts and lockdown challenges during the pandemic the team sourced part from over 22 countries, with the furthest distance travelled by a single part being 5,226 miles
- Achieved full MHRA approval for the Penlon ESO 2 device in just three weeks, becoming the first newly adapted ventilator design to be given regulatory authorisation as part of the UK Government’s fight against COVID19 and then going on the secure the international quality seal of approval by way of CE marking
- Recruited and trained a 3,500 front-line assembly team in a new age of social distancing, balancing the twin imperatives of speedy delivery with absolute adherence to the regulatory standards needed to ensure patient safety
- Digitized the vital ventilator Device History Record (DHR) which captures the manufacturing process and confirms that the device passes all design and product specifications. The validated ‘eDHR’ replaced a laborious paper-based system and removed opportunities for documentation errors, streamlining the process. Introducing similar medical documentation software validation would typically around 18 months, however the ESO2 eDHR was introduced and validated within 4 weeks.
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