The UK government has cancelled orders for 10,000 ventilators made by British engineering company Dyson.
Last month, Design Week reported that Dyson had answered the government’s call to produce ventilators by designing the CoVent. Dyson announced that the government had put an order of 10,000 for the machine.
Dyson was however waiting for approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the body that regulates medical devices in the UK.
In that time, demand for ventilators has decreased. While Prime minister Boris Johnson initially called on engineering firms to deliver 30,000 ventilators for coronavirus patients, health secretary Matt Hancock later revised this number to 18,000.
“We don’t regret our contribution”
In a statement about the cancellation, James Dyson said: “Dyson people welcomed the government’s challenge, and working round the clock, developed an entirely new ventilator in 20 days.
“Mercifully, they are not now required in the UK but we don’t regret our contribution to the national effort for one moment.”
He added that he hopes the CoVent device could be of use for other countries. He also confirmed that the company has spent around £20m on the project and that the company will fund this and “will not be accepting any public money”.
Dyson added: “The team have worked 24/7 to design and manufacture a sophisticated ventilator in a very short timeframe – I pay tribute to their exceptional expertise and commitment and hope they can spend this weekend with their families who will not have seen them for weeks.”
However, a consortium of firms, including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, known as VentilatorChallengeUK did get approval from the MHRA.
This is likely because its proposed designs were altered versions of designs that already have approval; Penlon’s Prima and the ParaPac machine.
Choosing machines based on existing models seemed to have paid off; up to 15,000 of the ventilators have been ordered and production has begun.
Other projects that have designed new models, like Dyson’s, have been rejected. These include a design from Red Bull and Renault.