Medtronic shares ventilator design publicly to increase production

Ventilators considered critical in fight against Covid-19

Dublin-headquartered ventilator maker Medtronic is sharing the design specifications for one of its ventilators which can be used to treat critically ill patients suffering the worst affects of Covid-19.

Medtronic, one of the world’s biggest makers of life-saving ventilators, said it would share details for its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) machine in line with guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Software code and other information would also soon be available, the company said.

Ventilators are considered critical in the fight against the Covid-19 disease as they permit an infected person’s lungs to rest while the machine supplies oxygen and simulates breathing.

Introduced to the market in 2010, the PB 560 is sold in 35 countries around the world. It can be used in a range of care settings while its design makes it a good solution for institutions looking to quickly ramp up ventilator design and production, Medtronic said.


The PB 560 is not one of the devices made by Medtronic at its Galway facility. There it makes Puritan Bennett 980 and Puritan Bennett 840 ventilators.

The PB 560 is a compact, lightweight and portable ventilator, Medtronic said, adding that it could be used both in clinical settings and at home.

"Over the past few weeks, we have ramped up production of our Puritan Bennett 980 ventilators. But we also know we can do more, and we are," said Bob White, executive vice-president at Medtronic. "By openly sharing the PB 560 design information, we hope to increase global production of ventilator solutions for the fight against Covid-19."

Project pitlane

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz’s F1 team, which is based in Brackley in the UK, has confirmed that it is going to build a breathing device to help those suffering from Covid-19 infections. The equipment, known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, has been designed in collaboration with University College London. It’s not a ventilator, but can deliver oxygen to the lungs without the need for a ventilator.

The device has been developed as part of Project Pitlane, a coming together of F1 teams – Mercedes, Williams, Haas, Racing Point, Renault, Red Bull and McLaren – to turn their factories over to medical device production for the duration of the current crisis.

“Project Pitlane will pool the resources and capabilities of its member teams to greatest effect, focusing on the core skills of the F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly. F1’s unique ability to rapidly respond to engineering and technological challenges allows the group to add value to the wider engineering industry’s response,” the teams said in a joint statement.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring