When officials in Huntington Beach, became concerned whether enough ventilators would be available to treat the anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients, the city turned to Blue-White Industries, a local manufacturer of chemical metering pumps, flowmeters and water treatment accessories.
City officials asked Blue-White to quickly develop and build temporary ventilators that met multiple specifications and requirements. Without hesitation, Blue-White’s engineering team, led by President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Gledhill, took up the challenge.
“Although the request was outside the scope of the products that Blue-White has manufactured for more than 60 years, we jumped at this opportunity to be of service,” said Gledhill. “The initial design parameters called for us to automate the manual process of squeezing a manual valve bag (Ambu Bag) in emergency conditions to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients having difficulty breathing,” he added. “This process is meant to be used as a temporary measure, lasting from a few hours to three days, to sustain a patient until a long-term ventilator becomes available.”
For two weeks, seven of Blue-White’s most experienced engineers – mechanical, electrical and manufacturing – collaborated with Gledhill to design, develop and test prototypes. They drew on the expertise of local doctors, respiratory therapists and professors. “With a strong desire to be of service, and with will and determination, we produced what we believe is an exceptionally high-quality and reliable piece of equipment,” said Gledhill. “We developed the Blue-White Temporary Ventilator using 100 percent in-house parts, raw materials and existing equipment.”
Blue-White’s ventilator is currently in long-term testing and is being submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval. In the meantime, Blue-White’s team is busy developing a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack so the ventilator can be portable.
“We are immensely proud of our engineering team, as well as everyone at Blue-White who encouraged us in our efforts,” Gledhill said.