Automakers forge technological alliances to set up capacity for manufacturing ventilators

More than half a dozen automakers including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India, Ashok Leyland and MG Motor India have forged technological alliances and set up capacity for manufacturing 60,000 ventilators in the past three months to aid the government in its fight against Covid-19.

Chennai-based Ashok Leyland has not only collaborated with ventilator makers Kriti Kare and Phoenix to help them scale up operations, but also developed in-house a first mile advanced respirator ARAD (Automatic Respiratory Assist Device) in line with global standards and specifications, after discussions with clinical experts.

Majority of the components for the device is sourced locally, the company said, in line with the government’s vision for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Ashok Leyland is currently in talks with a “few interested ventilator manufacturers as well for technology transfer” for the device.

Ashok Leyland told ET it was approached by the central and the state government of in Tamil Nadu to lend its expertise to ventilator makers to help improve supply chain and production capacity.


“Under this arrangement, company provided support in various fronts, based on the ventilator manufacturer’s need, in areas of supply chain, sourcing, domestic and international logistics, manufacturing planning, in line quality and some consultation on engineering aspects as well”, the company said.

As on date, Phoenix Medicals has manufactured and supplied 100 ventilators and are manufacturing another 900 at their Vizag facility for HLL orders. Kriti Kare India is also set to fulfil an order for 70 ventilators and has indicated an additional 400 units in its pipeline. At present, Ashok Leyland has the capacity to manufacture 40 ARADs per day, which can be doubled within six weeks to meet high volume requirements

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Maruti Suzuki too has formed an association with AgVa Healthcare to step up sourcing and production of ventilators as per orders placed by HLL. While AgVa Healthcare is responsible for the technology, performance for all ventilators produced and sold by them, MSIL is leveraging its supplier base to procure the required volume of components and use its experience and knowledge to upgrade systems for the production and quality control for higher volumes. The duo set up capacity to produce up to 10,000 ventilators per month, data collated by industry body SIAM showed.

Meanwhile, Hyundai (along with Air Liquide Medical Systems), JBM, MG Motor India (along with MAX Ventilators) are supplying ventilators to state governments in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, respectively. While JBM is supplying 1000 ventilators to the government of Madhya Pradesh, MG Motor India has supplied 48 ventilators to Haryana Medical Services Corporation and to the COVID-19 hospital in Halol (Gujarat).

MG Motor India and its partner MAX, tripled ventilator capacity to 100 units per month at the latter’s manufacturing plant within a month of their collaboration on April 29. MG Motor India is assisting MAX Ventilators in enhancing the overall production of ventilators by addressing specific areas of the supply chain, IT system and manufacturing processes.

“The production capacity can be enhanced up to 1,000 ventilators per month, depending upon the demand, especially from government hospitals, to help meet the shortage of the life-saving medical devices in the country”, the company said.

Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) did not respond queries from ET.

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Renault-Nissan Technology and Business Centre India also entered into an arrangement with Trivitron to help source parts, ramp up production and testing for 10,000 ventilators. Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, in the meantime, has procured and distributed 15 ventilators to local hospitals in Pune, Mumbai and Aurangabad.

Earlier in March this year, the Indian government requested the country’s leading automakers to explore possibilities of manufacturing ventilators to help support the fight against COVID-19. While demand for ventilators has been lower than initially estimated, the industry insiders said infrastructure is now ready to meet requirements when it arises.



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