To rapidly develop and produce an NIV respiratory support machine for the COVID-19 health crisis
Préverenges (Switzerland), 31 march 2020
I am the owner of an SME in the canton of Vaud with 8 employees. We develop sensors and measuring instruments for use in industry, watch-making and the medical sector. Given the magnitude of the health crisis, I wanted to do all I can to help.
On 10th March 2020, together with my team of engineers, I started to develop and then produce non-invasive ventilation devices (respirator with mask).
On 31st March 2020, 10 machines were up and running. There will most likely be 160 of them in two weeks’ time. Thereafter, it will be very difficult for me to produce others quickly as the procurement lead-time for the turbines is around 4 weeks.
From the outset of the project, I thought of my machine as a back-up solution should the equipment start to run out. On 10th March, it was impossible to predict what the situation would be early April. I strongly believe that it made no sense to do nothing when we had all the means to help.
To my team who have worked tirelessly with me on this project, I quote this phrase from the great Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible, until it is done”.
I thank you all in advance for your support and encouragement.
Cédric Pahud Ing. HES & EPFZ
Director and Owner of BCD microtechnique SA
For important messages:
+41 79 777 01 88
-Two pressure levels (EPAP/IPAP) up to 45 cmH20
-Delivered volume limit/control
-Limit by drop in flow
- Limit by max. time
-Minimum breathing frequency
-O2 inflow at turbine inlet
-Air humidifier (bypass possible)
-Oximetry and pulse sensor
-Compatible with standard masks
-Wifi and network socket
-Alarm management server
-External power supply 24V/3.75A
We have applied to Swissmedic for an exemption permit. At this stage, we have not had much time to spend on this, but we will be turning our attention back this as soon as possible.
The machine is being developed by a team of highly-qualified engineers using state-of-the-art technology. All of the key components are certified medical products. Given the urgency, we are not able to appoint an external certification body. We declare on our honour that we have taken all the necessary measures to supply a safe product. We are testing our prototypes around the clock and to date there have not been any incidents.
Use of the machine in invasive ventilation
From a technical perspective, this machine can be used in invasive mode. However, we advise against such use at present. We need to discuss certain aspects with ventilation specialists before going down that route.
You are a doctor/physio in a Swiss hospital working on the front-line with COVID-19
There have been some changes between the start of our project and the current situation. The management and distribution of the respirators is in the hands of the DDS (Department of Health). At this time, we are unable to supply you with the equipment directly.
You are a doctor in a hospital abroad working on the front-line with COVID-19
If Swiss hospitals do not show any interest, we would be open to discussion with you.
The development and production of the 160 machines are funded using BCD microtechnique SA’s own financial resources. All subcontractors and consultants are paid. The budget has reached the upper limit of what we are able to support. This is not communicated.
You are an investor
We are interesting in selling the development we have created. Much of it can be reused in another application. The 160 machines being built are not for sale to investors and shall therefore remain our responsibility.
You are a private investor and would like to support us
Mobilisation on the networks could help us and would be likely to motivate other teams in Switzerland or elsewhere with similar projects.
You have a similar project
Time permitting, we would be very happy to share our experience with you.
To contact us