Equilibar continues efforts to make new pressure control products available to ventilator designers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most significantly, our technical team has introduced the RV-22, an ultra-sensitive back pressure regulator. The device is a modification of Equilibar’s existing dome-loaded technology with ports suitable for medical tubing. Its instantaneous response to setpoint changes makes it well suited for oscillatory pressure wave systems such as those involved in ventilator use.
Here is an update on the status of the RV-22 and related projects as of April 16, 2020.
Auxiliary products: In addition to the RV-22, the Equilibar technical team has also developed important auxiliary products. The RVP-L and the RVP-H are knob-adjusted precision pressure regulators designed to pilot regulate the setpoint pressure on the dome of the RV-22. They are being tested and validated in ventilator prototypes by companies seeking emergency use authorization. The RV-SRV is a gravity weighted safety relief valve that is under development. Upon release of the final design, Equilibar plans to have these valves available in volume to help with the shortage of relief valves. Equilibar requires that the RV-22 be used with a relief valve. Finally, the RV-19, a single use version of the RV-22, is also in development.
Volume manufacturing capability: The RV-22 is being machined and assembled by Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions, a division of Roush Yates Engines, the legendary NASCAR engine builder for Ford Performance. Roush Yates has the capability to offer the valves in volume quantities in order to provide them to the world as quickly and affordably as possible, bypassing the disrupted supply chain for traditional ventilator components.
In addition, Joe Gibbs Racing is making our auxiliary products.
We are proud to partner with these NC motorsports companies. Their participation enables us to continue working with our local machine shop partners on existing customer orders and other core projects.
Testing and validation of ventilator system prototypes using our valves: At least two independent groups are integrating the RV-22 into emergency ventilator designs—BioMedInnovations, a medical device company in the Charlotte region of North Carolina, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
BioMedInnovations was founded in 2005 to commercialize a highly controllable low-flow and low pressure fluid technology targeted toward organ transplantation. Their goal is to bring an emergency use ventilator to critical care providers rapidly and in volume.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration within the Department of Energy. The Laboratory’s science and engineering are regularly applied to achieve breakthroughs in a variety of critically important fields. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Laboratory is actively researching and developing prototypes for how alternative equipment could be repurposed to meet excess demand for ventilators.
Outlook: With COVID-19, we have witnessed the global forecast for ventilator needs and ventilator component availability change almost hourly, making it impossible to say how our products will ultimately be used. We can say that we have received many inquiries about our new products and we have received positive feedback from our biomedical partners and others around the world. Progress has happened incredibly fast. We are energized and inspired to participate in a global innovation effort. We have always believed in the power of collaboration to solve problems that seem insurmountable, and we are glad to play a role in finding the solution to this problem, no matter how our valves end up being used. We have learned and passed along an incredible amount of knowledge and we know that learning will not go to waste.