Ventilator Manufacturing Consortium

Ventilator Manufacturing Consortium
VentilatorChallengeUK consortium leverages UK design and manufacturing capabilities to provide essential equipment for national healthcare providers
Testing ventilator prototype

VentilatorChallengeUK, a consortium of UK aerospace, automotive and medical businesses, has been developed to design, test and manufacture mechanical ventilators for the NHS.

Led by Dick Elsy, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the consortium has focussed its efforts on scaling up production of two ventilation devices to meet the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an existing device made by Smiths Group, as well as a new device based on existing technology from Oxfordshire-based Penlon.

For the new device, the consortium worked closely with the ventilator manufacturer Penlon to modify and scale up production of an existing product. This device became the first newly adapted ventilator design to be given regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in hospitals to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

VentilatorChallengeUK also supported the scale up of the existing Smiths Group ventilator, which already had MHRA approval, through establishing three brand-new production sites across the UK.

The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium is made up of over 30 participating organisations across nine different locations, involving the work of over 5,500 people. This includes companies such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Unilever, as well as UK-based F1 teams such as McLaren and Red Bull Racing. So far, companies within the consortium have received formal orders for over 15,000 units by the UK Government.

Through collaboration, VentilatorChallengeUK has raised Penlon and Smiths combined manufacturing capacity from around 50 units per week to a minimum of 1,500 units per week, providing essential equipment to support the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further information on the consortium can be found at

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult is one of nine world-leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK as a long-term investment in the UK’s economic capability. To find out more about the work of the Catapult Network, please visit