Everyone at UWTSD is so proud of Luca Pagano, Graham Howe, Professor Peter Charlton, John Hughes, and Richard Morgan, who were 2022 Innovation, Science & Technology Award winners at the St David Awards. The team developed a 3D-printed jet respiratory support system to help the NHS in the fight against Covid 19. They developed a device that could be manufactured cheaply, rapidly and, at the same time, be user friendly whilst maintaining high performance levels. The device was optimised to be able to perform CPAP functionalities such as maintaining PEEP pressures in scenarios such as overwhelmed hospitals where oxygen supply was limited.
A Lead Bio–Medical Engineer in Nepal who had read the news about the Venturi asked if the team could share their 3D files for printing in his hospital in Pokhara where the COVID-19 situation was worsening by the minute. The team responded rapidly setting a license agreement and subsequently transferred all the documentation/technical files and supported the Nepalese engineers with any queries. The device was successfully manufactured with low-end desktop 3D printers and adopted to save lives.
Graham Howe, Executive Head of Made Cymru added: “To win a St David Award is such an exciting accolade and proud moment for the team and clearly demonstrates how the R&D work at UWTSD can address critical global challenges. This project shows the multi-disciplinary world of Engineering and what we can achieve when we work together. We used our engineering skills as creative problem solvers to try to help solve our biggest challenges.”
John Hughes was a key member of the team and a UWTSD Masters student at the time, studying Motorsport Engineering. He said, “I was responsible for carrying out vital multiphase numerical modelling of the 3D printed, jet Venturi based system. We proved it outperformed most of the available devices at a fraction of the cost. It was a humbling experience to be part of the team. I graduated soon afterwards, and it definitely helped me get my current job as an Aerodynamicist at Sabe Fluid Dynamics.”
The team are already working on UWTSD initiatives that boost and support the manufacturing industry in Wales. Luca Pagano and Graham Howe work on the EU funded MADE Cymru project whilst Richard Morgan works on the Welsh Government funded SMART Digital Accelerator project.