Viessmann has designed and developed a modular intensive care unit to help seriously ill COVID-19 patients
Production lines of the German family business normally reserved for heating and cooling products have been transformed within days to make completely new products, while engineers have collaborated with clinicians and regulators to fast-track new medical equipment and employees have brainstormed and rolled out virus-beating innovations such as handless door-openers.
Viessmann has designed and developed a new modular intensive care unit, which could make a fundamental contribution to the care of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, building on expertise within its refrigeration solutions division, which manufactures cold rooms for a range of commercial applications. Thanks to the prefabricated and modular design, the portable units, for either one or two patients, can be set up quickly, both indoors, in exhibition halls or sports arenas, for example, and outdoors where there is appropriate cover.
One of the production lines that normally makes wall-mounted gas boilers is now making a Viessmann-designed ventilator. The design of the Viessmann boiler, which includes electronic gas and air connections, lent itself perfectly to the development of a simplified ventilator in a very short space of time. The compact ventilators are mobile, working both as a standalone solution with an oxygen cylinder, which means they do not necessarily need the technical infrastructure of a hospital, or connected to a hospital’s own oxygen supply. The ventilators enable individual adjustment of pressure levels and breathing rate and allow a variable admixture of oxygen.
In developing and testing the ventilators, Viessmann engineers have been in close contact with anaesthetists and intensive care physicians from the Luisenhospital, the academic teaching hospital at the RWTH Aachen University and been supported by Professor Dr Müller from the E.ON Energy Research Center at the university. The ventilators meet the requirements for invasive ventilation of COVID-19 patients and once special approval has been granted, production of over 600 ventilators per day is feasible. Viessmann is in contact with the authorities in many countries to investigate possible local use.
Max Viessmann, co-chief executive officer at Viessmann, said: 'The way we deal with the coronavirus crisis today, will determine how we remember this time in the future, hopefully with pride and the awareness of having achieved a new dimension of solidarity. It goes without saying, that Viessmann is aware of its social responsibility in times of crisis and that we are now strengthening it once again. The whole thing will only end when it is over for everyone – worldwide. Fighting the current pandemic requires cohesion, team spirit and creativity to make the best out of the current challenging situation. I experience these qualities every day with around 12,300 members of the Viessmann family. I am extremely proud of this.”
Viessmann has also created and manufactured disinfectant and high quality respiratory protective face masks, which are being donated to hospitals and care facilities in the vicinity of its Allendorf headquarters in Germany. Also resulting from Viessmann’s employee idea scheme, which receives a nationally-leading 150,000 suggestions per year, is the so-called 'personal door opener'. This is a simple but effective personal tool that allows employees to open doors while avoiding touching door handles with their hands. These are being produced on 3D printers in the Viessmann prototype manufacturing facility.