Automobile major TVS Motor plans to start making ventilators or key parts of the medical apparatus for Covid-19 patients who are not in the highly critical stage. The two-wheeler maker has tied up with Sastra University for this initiative, and joins the list of groups such as Mahindra and Tata that have announced plans to make such equipment.
The company, along with die-caster Sundaram-Clayton Ltd, has said it plans to spend Rs 30 crore to support the nationwide efforts to combat Covid-19. The funding will come from Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the social arm of TVS Motor Company and Sundaram-Clayton Ltd. The two TVS Group firms will manufacture and supply supportive equipment such as masks, apart from providing cooked meals to those in the frontline - from healthcare workers to police officers, the company said.
Venu Srinivasan, chairman, TVS Motor, told Business Standard that his company has initiated works with Sastra University to use its rapid prototyping equipment to make ventilator and related parts.
"We just started two days ago. If you start designing today, it will be too late. Sastra University has a design, and we are working with them," he said. These are simple ventilators, not the complex ICU kind, which are very difficult to make. They can be used for patients who are not critical. The company said it is evaluating collaborations with 3D printing firms to make devices for hospitals that lack necessary life support systems to take care of Covid-19 victims.
The company is also making masks through its seat supplier. These masks can be used by all those not directly dealing with Covid patients. The automaker plans to make a million masks and is also providing tractors mounted with tankers and sprayers for disinfecting towns like Mysuru, Krishnagiri, Hosur, Chennai, Bengaluru.
The first phase of the programme is underway and SST has already supplied 10 tractors fitted with disinfectant spray along with about 30 personnel to the Hosur Municipal Corporation in Tamil Nadu, and municipalities in Krishnagiri and Mysuru. The streets and villages in and around these towns are being sprayed with disinfectant as an ongoing process. SST will also manufacture and distribute 1 million face masks to those delivering essential services from healthcare to food supplies.
Company's canteens are working to provide food packets for police and sanitation workers, because hotels and restaurants are closed, he said. TVS Motor Company and SCL are using canteen kitchens in Hosur, Padi (Chennai) and Mysuru to make cooked food which is being distributed to police, healthcare workers and essential services workers in and around Hosur, Chennai and Mysuru. In Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, the company is distributing daily, dry ration kits to daily wage workers who have been displaced, and also to villagers who need food supplies.
According to reports India has lifted controls on producing medical ventilators, as it seeks to plug the growing shortage of this critical equipment in the battle against Covid-19.
Already five automakers including Tata Motors Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Honda Cars India Ltd and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd have said they will explore the possibility of making ventilators at their plants.
Companies generally need a license to make items listed as essential medical equipment under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Medical Device Rules. This rule has been waived off considering the medical urgency, provided that the manufacturer has partnered with a licensed firm.