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Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium (VCUK)

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.

Michael Gove
Minister for the Cabinet Office during COVID-19 pandemic

Led by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the Ventilator Challenge UK combined the knowledge and skills of 33 UK technology and engineering businesses to deliver 13,437 ventilators to the NHS in response to the anticipated escalation in COVID19 cases.

The Consortium 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.

It set up new parallel supply chains and acquired around 42 million parts and electronic components from over 22 countries through a complex logistics network that saw DHL design and implement an end-to-end supply chain in only 1.5 weeks.

Full MHRA approval for the Penlon ESO 2 device was achieved in just three weeks, making it the first newly adapted ventilator design to be given regulatory authorisation as part of the UK Government’s fight against COVID19.

To do this, the consortium recruited and trained a 3,500 strong front-line assembly team in a new age of social distancing, balancing speedy delivery with absolute adherence to the regulatory standards needed to ensure patient safety, going on to secure the international quality seal of approval by way of CE marking.

The Consortium was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s President’s Special Awards for Pandemic Service for exceptional engineering achievements.

Ventilator peak production exceeded 400 devices a day

Shortest time ever recorded to achieve 1,000 ventilators = 3 days

Furthest distance travelled by a part in the ventilator supply chain = 5,226 miles
front-line assembly team recruited and trained