The Covid-19 emergency has gotten India’s scientific institutions to double up and develop several low cost products, which have a good potential even in the post-Covid-19 era as well as exports. As this report https://bit.ly/2S1Gkhg in Business Line newspaper says, there is already a huge demand for Indian products from abroad. As such, there is a huge opportunity for Indian MSMEs to quickly get into the manufacture of these—after all, this is a rare time when technology for these is available free of cost.
Of the several products, we bring to your attention two in this post — (1) ventilators and (2) Oxygen concentrators. In our subsequent posts, we will bring you information about other products. We choose ventilators and oxygen concentrators mainly because they have a lasting potential, extending way beyond the Covid-19 crisis. Every country would want them, especially because Indian products are going to be ultra low cost—a big blessing when countries are going through an economic downturn.
The Mahindras and Tatas have said they would manufacture ventilators with their own design—so their technology is not going to be available to MSMEs. Same for BHEL. DRDO has come up with its own ventilator design but it has said that it would give technology for this product only to BEL, till BEL manufactures 30,000 units—so DRDO technology is also not accessible.
However, a low cost ventilator has been designed by the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. It has said that the cost of the product in the market would be less than Rs 50,000, which is very attractive. IISc has transferred this technology to a company called KAS Technologies of Bengaluru, but is willing to provide the know-how to others also.
More details about the product can be had at: https://covid19.iisc.ac.in/iisc-ventilator-effort-2/
Those interested may contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
IIT Palakkad is also developing a low cost, portable ventilator, but the product is not ready yet. It will soon be. Those interested may get in touch with the IIT.
Some details of which are available here: https://iitpkd.ac.in/news/iit-palakkad-and-kanjikode-industries-forum-sign-mou-developing-portable-emergency-medical
Oxygen concentrators are machines that produce oxygen-rich air by removing Nitrogen from atmospheric air. It works like the catalytic converters in cars. Basically, it sucks air from the atmosphere, compresses it and passes the compressed air through canister holding sieve beds that contain either powder or pellets of Zeolite, a mineral that has affinity for Nitrogen and adsorbs the gas. The air that comes out of the canister is about 90 per cent Oxygen. This is not 100 per cent pure Oxygen, but is good enough for patients. After the Zeolite canister is saturated it starts dis-adsorbing Nitrogen, during which time another similar canister in the machine does the job of producing Oxygen rich air.
This machine runs on electricity. It is also expensive—about Rs 1 lakh. Hence Oxygen cylinders have always been a cheaper option. So, there has not been any great demand for Oxygen concentrators, which are used only in remote areas where it is difficult to take cylinders, or in situations where the patient requires continuous supply of Oxygen—several cylinders a day, which is both costly and cumbersome to handle. Hence there has been no manufacture of Oxygen concentrators in India, even though it is a product that is easy to produce. All the machines used currently in India are Chinese made.
However, the Covid-19 crisis has made IISc come up with a design for low-cost Oxygen concentrators. These machines can be used in tandem with the ventilators, or also independent of ventilators if the patient does not require much support. As such, there is likely to be a big demand for this product. If low cost machines are available, most hospitals would buy them for back-up. Again, there is likely to be a big demand from abroad.
IISc is happy to transfer this technology to MSMEs. For more details, please check out: https://covid19.iisc.ac.in/increasing-oxygen-concentration-for-ventilators/
Those interested may contact: email@example.com
Also read: Technology transfer on phone, says DRDO
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