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Injection Molder Helps Bring Portable Ventilator to Market

PMC tests ventilator assembly Image: PMC Smart Solutions
PMC Smart Solutions contributed its medical device manufacturing and regulatory expertise to the development and production of the Venti-Now ventilator.

COVID-19 has provided opportunities for custom molders to apply their expertise to the development and manufacture of much-needed medical equipment. PMC Smart Solutions LLC, a family-owned company in Cincinnati specializing in engineering, design/development, plastic injection molding, contract assembly, and sterilization, is using its extensive experience to help bring a new ventilator to market as quickly and inexpensively as possible, without compromising on quality.

Lisa Jennings, President and CEO of PMC, says she was introduced to the founders of Venti-Now Non-Profit Corp., who were searching for a medical device manufacturer that could help them with critical R&D aspects. “They had a good start with the concept, design, and early prototype for their emergency ventilator,” Jennings says. “What they were lacking was the medical device manufacturing and regulatory experience that PMC could provide.”

The Venti-Now ventilator is a pneumatic mechanical device. Small and portable, it is designed for quick production and maximum affordability. Venti-Now is also easy to operate and utilizes standard, disposable BVM bags, making it ideal for use in emergency situations in both hospital and field locations.

PMC tests ventilator assembly
PMC Smart Solutions' team members determined the most efficient assembly process for the Venti-Now ventilator and supported the development of a solid supply chain, balancing technical requirements, quality, delivery, and cost, said the company. Image courtesy PMC.

According to Alan Sundheimer, PMC’s Vice President of Engineering and Technology, PMC’s engineering team asked countless questions and performed design for manufacturability analyses to ultimately determine the optimal product design and, consequently, the best assembly and testing processes. “Continuous innovation is a core value at PMC, and at our manufacturing plant in Shelbyville, IN, we worked to standardize components and make this product for the lowest possible cost, which is beneficial for all,” Sundheimer said. “We anticipated needing to ramp up very quickly, so we addressed supply-chain options and how to assemble as many as 1,000 of the units per week as efficiently as possible. This included looking at manpower and space requirements, as well.”

Jennings added, “By its nature, the Venti-Now program created instant passion and commitment to support a program that could help with the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that took over the world and our country earlier this year. The Venti-Now team was deeply committed to bringing a simple and affordable emergency ventilator to the world, and the PMC team quickly joined them as integrated partners, working toward a common goal.”

Find out how other injection molders and mold makers are adapting to the new normal by reading Clare Goldsberry's feature, "How Five Plastics Processors and Mold Manufacturers Are Finding Ways to Thrive Amid the Pandemic."

The Venti-Now project relied on the breadth of services and expertise PMC offers to support medical device customers, including strong product design and development.“The PMC team also supports the development of a solid supply chain, balancing technical requirements, quality, delivery, and cost — everything that is required for the full product lifecycle, from concept to ongoing supply of finished product,” Jennings explained. “Manufacturing medical devices demands strict adherence to FDA quality standards, and PMC has the expertise to assist customers like Venti-Now who need support in this area.”

Venti-Now’s founding President and Chief Engineer, John Molander, says working with PMC Smart Solutions has been a “fabulous experience,” as his team strives to deliver safe, effective, and affordable ventilators to areas that urgently need them. “The entire PMC team has been professional and responsive to changing needs as the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the USA and the world,” he said. “It has been reassuring for our small nonprofit to work with this world-class medical device fabricator. They are very detail oriented in the production, testing, and documentation required for these medical devices.”

“At PMC, we want to give customers the best solutions,” Sundheimer concluded. “Everyone who worked on the Venti-Now has expressed to me how they feel about the value of this project under the circumstances. Others who were not involved specifically requested to be involved. They want to give back, add value, and contribute to the greater good. We believe all our customers feel and see the PMC difference based on our culture and commitment to their shared success.”

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