The intensive care units in the Netherlands crave resuscitators. The more devices, the more ill patients corona can be recorded. The hope is for a company in Enschede.
A black plastic box of maybe 15 centimeters wide which red, yellow and orange tubes stabbing and that at the heart of the ventilators that are now so badly needed in Dutch hospitals just lying on a sheet in the brand new factory Demcon in Enschede. Director Dennis Schipper (55) is written in gray jacket and white shirt next. He has on Wednesday afternoon at half past three Health Minister Hugo de Jonge had on the phone. How long it would take before Schipper five hundred of these boxes can convert into functional ventilators, said the minister. “Two months,” Schipper replied. “That’s too long,” the minister replied.
Then it was going to count Schipper. Had he asked the engineers in the Brabant Best again to look at the software and enclosure and came off at half time. Skipper: “At half past ten in the evening I got him texted us to deliver the first ventilator within four weeks. ‘Skipper was then the middle of a hectic week for him and saw an increase in requests per day.
The oorsprongDat thing: Twente tech company makes all kinds of specialized equipment. Aerospace, heavy industry, manned and unmanned systems. About ten years ago, the company went also into the medical equipment when the German Dräger was closing a factory in Best and fast growing Demcon from wild expansion. And about five years ago began Demcon themselves produce medical equipment in a hall in Enschede. Now ‘medical’ responsible for 30 percent of the more than 80 million annual turnover of the company.
Demcon only provides the core module, therefore the heart of the breathing devices elsewhere in the world – Germany, Sweden, Japan – will be provided with further housing. A highly specialized product. Cost: 3000 Euros per module. Twente skipper with accent: “You can not just bring air into a person. There is a lot involved. “An example motor on up to 90 thousand RPM is running a mini propeller that draws surrounding air which is compressed in the module. That device is here on a work surface. For when the corona crisis erupted, started calling about whether they can get more customers worldwide to Enschede. Schipper: “Normally we have three to four thousand a year. Now we can supply it with ease ten thousand. “And the Dutch government soon began to get interested in the devices Demcon.
Tuesday, March 17 2020Dennis Schipper in the car. You would think that the director of a company with lifesaving devices where suddenly a huge demand for it constantly in conversation. Schipper: “No, it is similar agreements quieter than usual. Meetings do not go through, I do have time for a phone call. “In addition to customers from countries including Japan and Germany, the Erasmus Medical Center this Tuesday contacted. “The real question is whether we ourselves can make the whole ventilator.” A dilemma: do Dutch foreign customers go?
There is a shortage in the Netherlands. The figures have been national news: 1,150 ICU beds in the Netherlands. That will be enough if the number of patients continues to increase corona. Diederik Gommers, chairman of the Dutch Society of Intensive Care, therefore from early March to identify how the capacity up. Patients spread an idea. Hospitals otherwise furnishing to create more capacity ic too. But then do need respirators. Defense there are about forty. A deficit of several hundred. Where do you come so quickly? Skipper: “I even think that it will certainly thousand, they underestimate it.” Choosing between home and abroad, he finds annoying. He works with foreign customers he knows well for years. Germany is also around the corner, the contacts are excellent. “I am not to immediately” call their own country first, “as the United States is now. But, if we must choose, we still tend to be supplying the first to close. ”
And now, this Tuesday, so the question of the Erasmus MC. Can Demcon instead of the core module itself does not open a ventilator? Schipper: “We have the knowledge. We know how the device is triggered. The question is whether we have the necessary equipment – such as snakes – can get quickly. I think eight weeks. “Because there’s still something to look at for such a mobile core module functional ventilator is in hospitals but can also be used in helicopters and ambulances. Babies and children for example have a different amount of air than adults. The casing must be tip-top, doctors should be able to work smoothly with the software must meet medical standards. Schipper: “We will try to make a simplified model, only suitable for the elderly. Which devices are most needed. ”
Wednesday, March 18 2020De production goes up. In order to meet the increasing demand, Demcon has already opened a second line in order to make more core modules. “And we are already thinking about a third line.” One hundred per week, which is a small five thousand a year. The good news: the supplier of the motor of the machine, Allied Motion from Dordrecht, has promised to deliver faster. Schipper, now from his office right next to the stadium of FC Twente call ‘And fellow companies in the region to help with the production. Nice to see everyone wants to help each other. ”
The IC-capacity remains a concern. In the afternoon there is a hearing in the House. Also there will resound there certainly five hundred resuscitators needed. Devices that are not and can not be fast. Skipper is going to enumerate the request of the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. What is possible? A simple ventilator he can make fairly quickly. “We already have some on paper.” He just thinks it’s better if the Dutch government will coordinate this. In one place a large order. For clarity and control. Later, each hospital needs four or five additional devices. “We will submit a proposal to the government.” Where? “I do not know, I’m not so familiar there.”
After the hearing, following contact with Minister Hugo de Jonge. He also calls for the five hundred units, as soon as possible. As his colleague minister Bruins in the room goes down by fatigue, Schipper and his team at the count and testing. “We are engineers, not doctors. We may operate it, but eventually the doctors should work with them. “The controlling software does. And a few hours later he’s texting Young that he can deliver within one month of the first devices. “Fantastic, that really helps,” returns the minister.
Thursday, March 19 2020Dennis Schipper walking calmly through the production that is actually until June officially opened. It smells of paint, outside the yellow sand lies on the stones, rather than between them. With red and white ribbons shielded the production line. An official confirmation of the Ministry is not there yet. Skipper sees a missed call from the assistant minister. He dives with the phone to his ear behind a desk. “Not the ministry but my sister,” he later explained. “My mother is in a nursing home and can not visit. She was a little confused. “The sister Skipper therefore secretly gone to the nursing home to get in touch. ‘It goes well.’
For him, an employee with the black module in hand. Here is the second production: a U-shaped space with desks that are now further apart in order to prevent contagion and where the modules are put together with screws and click. Precision, with my hands. Per device it comes to a few hours. Automatic screw machine. Valves to regulate the air supply. The confirmation may wait, the production is firmly screwed. Thereafter, the module is being tested behind glass. Schipper: “We give him equally well on its thunder” After those few hours at maximum power following the final test.. All information of the device is stored digitally. Following its own serial number and the core module is off.
Minister Bruins makes known to occur off mid-afternoon, Deputy Prime Hugo de Jonge takes his tasks and the new corona minister. In Demcon waiting for confirmation from the ministry. The proposal for self-built device is out the door. Schipper: “We have already started, and I expect them to have the resuscitators needed quickly. But normally, the government is not so fast. ‘Gommers, the man of the intensive care association, has the reputation of Demcon and engineers working in Best. “That might help us.”
Friday, March 20 2020Nog still no confirmation from the ministry. The tender documents and are mailed. Gommers the ICU Association tells RTL News that the number of ICU beds up to. Extra ventilator according to him, ordered delivery “put in motion”. Gommers: “Of course there is delivery, but I do not have tomorrow thousand devices. There’s still time. “Do not panic, according to him. “Our health care system is ready. ‘In Enschede Schipper wait for the approval of the offer. Fasting: “It is not a pretty situation. But it’s nice if we can do something. “With any luck, he says, will be ready the first device about three weeks. And then 50 per week.