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03 Aug 21. Adaptive manufacturing for healthcare during COVID-19 pandemic

New insights on the use of flexible manufacturing to support the response to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic have just been published by an academic-NHS-industry partnership which involves Edinburgh Imaging members, Dr Antoine Vallatos & Dr Adriana Tavares.

Bespoke healthcare components (not to scale): (1) model of part of a piece of plasticware used for PCR-based COVID testing; (2a-3b) attempts to reproduce components of systems that can be used to help patients breathe; (4a-4b) design & prototype of new lock-box to house syringe pumps that administer medications; screenshot of platform Aras Innovator, (5) a piece of software used to manage product development & manufacture, which can be employed in adaptive manufacturing for healthcare. Images reproduced under CC-BY licence from Vallatos et al., Front. Med. Technol. DOI: 10.3389/fmedt.2021.702526
Bespoke healthcare components (not to scale): (1) model of part of a piece of plasticware used for PCR-based COVID testing; (2a-3b) attempts to reproduce components of systems that can be used to help patients breathe; (4a-4b) design & prototype of new lock-box to house syringe pumps that administer medications; screenshot of platform Aras Innovator, (5) a piece of software used to manage product development & manufacture, which can be employed in adaptive manufacturing for healthcare. Images reproduced under CC-BY licence from Vallatos et al., Front. Med. Technol. DOI: 10.3389/fmedt.2021.702526
Please find the paper, here: "Adaptive manufacturing for healthcare during the COVID-19 emergency & beyond".

 

COVID-19 caused crippling global supply shortages of medical equipment & materials.

At an early stage of the pandemic, the University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian & companies including:

came together as a team to address this problem by reverse engineering or redesigning critical hardware for healthcare applications.

In a paper published on Monday 2 August 2021 in a special issue of Frontiers in Medical Technology, the 26-person consortium – which includes students, postdoctoral researchers, technicians & academics from the School of Engineering – present the lessons learned from their work.

Some members of the team used high-tech three-dimensional scanning methods to study existing biomedical hardware & endeavoured to make replacements using 3D-printing.

Others set out to design & build a new lock-box that could be used to securely hold syringe pumps, which are used to deliver medication such as painkillers.

A third group within the consortium focused on a software solution that could be used to manage the development of bespoke healthcare hardware products, such as equipment to help directly with patient care or parts that are needed to keep important machines in operation.

The group’s findings demonstrate that flexible manufacturing has the potential to secure back-up supply chains for future emergencies, using pop-up ‘nanofactories’ that can adapt rapidly to developing situations. Their experience shows that such ‘adaptive’ manufacturing must be data-driven & will need to blend old-fashioned engineering techniques with new cutting-edge methods.

The team’s paper also discusses the numerous technical & legal complexities involved in the development of customised components for use in clinical medicine.

The University team included members drawn from:

 

The project was led by Dr Katherine Dunn of the School of Engineering, who said:

"The team worked very hard on a wide range of projects, bringing together expertise from academia, industry & the NHS.

We hope that our work will be instructive to others endeavouring to develop flexible manufacturing for emergency situations, in the context of clinical engineering or elsewhere."

 

Please find the paper, here: "Adaptive manufacturing for healthcare during the COVID-19 emergency & beyond".

 

 

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New insights on the use of flexible manufacturing to support the response to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic have just been published by an academic-NHS-industry partnership which involves Edinburgh Imaging members, Dr Antoine Vallatos & Dr Adriana Tavares.

@SchoolOfEng_UoE @InfAtEd @NHS_Lothian @eduCreateStudio @kdunnresearch