Home South African Denel spearheading project to locally design, develop ventilators

Denel spearheading project to locally design, develop ventilators

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Engineers already working round the clock on initiative to help alleviate dire need for medical ventilators

SOUTH Africa’s state-owned arms manufacturer Denel is mobilising its resources and expertise to spearhead a project to locally design and develop medical ventilators in support of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, group chief executive Danie du Toit said.

In a statement, Du Toit said engineers from Denel Dynamics and Denel Aeronautics were already working round the clock on “Project Sabela” in partnership with other state entities, research bodies and medical technology companies.

“We are still in the early stages of the project, but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both public and private hospitals,” he said.

“We are proud to respond immediately and positively to a request from the Department of Public Enterprises to drive the ventilator project. As a state-owned company we are committed to utilising our skills, technology and experience in support of the national objectives to combat the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic at our doorstep.”

The defence and technology company is also considering other initiatives in which it can repurpose current operations and technology to assist the national efforts, including the production of sanitisers and the conversion of mine-protected vehicles into ambulances.

Denel said a task team consisting of experts from Denel, acquisition agency Armscor, power utility Eskom, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and other entities had been formed to investigate designs and produce a prototype for a ventilator.

“We are confident that we will soon make huge strides in the development of locally-designed ventilators at a time when global shortages are experienced,” Du Toit said.

On Sunday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said South African now had 1 655 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 11 people succumbing to the disease.

– African News Agency (ANA)