15km of medical gas hose & 13,437 NHS ventilators

On the 19th March 2020 when the founders of the Ventilator Challenge UK got together and formed their life saving Consortium of UK aerospace, motorsport, automotive and medical businesses, Medline Scientific was on their recruitment list as one of the leading suppliers of medical gas hose. 

Medline Scientific’s direct partnership with Colex International has formulated an expansive range of medical gas hoses that are phthalate free and available in either PVC or PU compounds. 

Description on how medical gas hose is used in a ventilator

A medical ventilator works to get oxygen into your lungs whilst removing carbon dioxide from your body

A breathing tube connects the ventilator machine to your body. One end of the tube is placed into your lungs’ airways through your mouth or nose. This is called intubation.

Later that week contact was made.  The mission for Justin Wheeler, Marketing & Operations Manager at Medline Scientific was to exclusively fulfill the various gas hoses needed as part of the complex supply chain for the project.

During the telephone call he was briefed that the primary goal of Ventilator Challenge UK was to build and supply 30,000 ventilators for the NHS. Clearly the delivery and evacuation tubing needed for each device to operate was imperative. The pressure was on. Justin chose to accept the mission on behalf of the company. Medline Scientific joined the consortium. Reflecting on the call he realised that there would be a great deal of work to pull this together.   That afternoon was spent with the team building a strong plan to ensure success for the overall goal.

This included that raw materials were sourced and made available, new tools engineered for certain products, the implementation of a an additional extruder on the production line for the PU hose, to ensure that hoses could be run 24/7 to meet with the ongoing demand. In addition a new source and supply for production of ferrules in order to manufacture the specified hose assemblies. To cement the relationship a video message from Grahame Hoare, Chairman of Ford UK, arrived in Justin’s inbox leaving no room for any misunderstanding of the challenge set before them.

Graham Hoare, Chairman Ford UK addresses the Consortium

Two months later significant progress had been achieved. A Consortium announcement highlighted that since 19 March 2020, the Consortium has focused its efforts on scaling up production of two devices. One an existing design made by Smiths Group, the other a new device based on an adaptation of existing technology from Oxfordshire based company, Penlon. In total, the 33-strong consortium has seen over 5,500 people working around the clock across nine sites to deliver both models of ventilator into the NHS.

Dick Elsy, Chairman of Ventilator Challenge UK and CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said:

“We have covered an incredible amount of ground in the two months since the Consortium was formed. The progress we have made is testament to the effort and energy brought to the challenge by every member of the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium team. They have never wavered in their determination to make sure that our NHS always has the number of ventilators it needs to treat this virus.

The primary products supplied for equipment manufactured by the Ventilator Challenge UK initiative:

In total the supply of more than 150,000 metres of tubing satisfied the need of the Consortium. A length equivalent to over 430 times around the lined pitch at Wembley Football Stadium.

Wembley Football Stadium to show size of pitch

The pitch size, as lined for association football, is 105 metres long by 69 metres wide, slightly narrower than the old Wembley, as required by the UEFA stadium categories for a category four stadium, the top category.

The final stage of Ventilator Challenge UK was to make its last shipment on 5th July 2020. Totalling the number of ventilators supplied to the NHS a whopping 13,473 units. Consortium businesses have now returned to regular production.

Mark Duffy, Managing Director at Medline Scientific said; “Our company is honored to have been associated with this incredible Consortium. The company’s involvement will be remembered for many years especially having received a signed Certificate of Membership which will now hangs proudly in the Medline Scientific reception.”

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