UK's Smiths makes ventilator available to other producers

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LONDON (Reuters) - British technology firm Smiths Group said it was making one of its ventilators available for other manufacturers to produce, part of a coordinated attempt to tackle a shortage of life-saving equipment as coronavirus spreads.

The group’s Smiths Medical unit was providing intellectual property and advice to other companies to make its PARAPAC Plus lightweight ventilators, and it was ramping up its own production at its site in Luton, just north of London.

Smiths said it was also talking to contract manufacturers to add production capacity in the United States and elsewhere.

“We are doing everything possible to substantially increase production of our ventilators at our Luton site and worldwide,” its chief executive, Andrew Reynolds Smith, said.

Smiths said it was working with suppliers to increase production over the next two weeks.

Smiths is a member of one of three consortia of companies set up by Britain’s government to speed up production of ventilators.

The three teams are led by aerospace engineer Meggitt and carmakers McLaren and Nissan. European planemaker Airbus has offered help with 3D technology and facilities if other companies need it.

Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Ed Osmond