Georgetown, ON (May 5, 2020): Ontario-based technology start-up Smartricity Inc. is used to tackling challenging problems. The four-year-old company, which focuses on creating new electric motor technologies, efficiency optimization, and AI and machine learning smart predictive maintenance monitoring solutions for mission critical applications; was recently given a unique problem to solve – how to supply, build, and support the ventilator component supply chain used in Canada and internationally to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company which specializes in the mining, food processing, renewable energy and industrial sectors, was brought on to the COVID-19 ventilator production project by Baylis Medical, a leader in the medical device industry.
Where others see a challenge, Smartricity Co-Founder and CEO, Michael Sonsogno, sees an opportunity for his company to shine. “The world is in panic mode right now. We are seeing this virus spread and evolve daily. Global demand for ventilators is in the millions. The need for this critical medical device is giving Smartricity, and other companies, the opportunity to take a look at all aspects of this essential technology. The North American based supply chains that we develop today will benefit patients and healthcare systems around the world for years to come,” explains Sonsogno.
Smartricity’s role in the ventilator project is to innovate the supply chain and the procurement of blower motors, which are critical to ventilator function. Various Canadian and internationally based companies are working on other components of the machines as a collaborative effort. The experts at Smartricity will continue to focus on building a strong collaborative supply chain, while evaluating ways to improve the efficiency and performance of the blower motors to be used in future applications. The company will also work on improving access to the global ventilator market for Canadian and international companies.
While Smartricity has always focused on supporting the critical machine market, this assignment is unique explains Mike Cowen, a partner at Cowen Equity Corp. and Co-Founder and COO of Smartricity. “We are working with numerous companies on this mission-critical project. We’ve worked with some of these partners before on other tasks, but this project is very unique. It is not often that electric motors are involved in supporting the fight against a global pandemic. The ventilator blowers are a critical component and right now, global demand is exceeding capacity. Those are all things we’ve never experienced before,” says Cowen.
Work on innovating and producing the ventilators is ongoing but the demand is such that the usual timelines for a project of this scope have been significantly shortened. Generally, a project such as this one would take 9-18 months of planning, modeling and prototyping. The need for the equipment to be in place prior to peaks in COVID- 19 related hospitalizations has reduced the timeline to weeks.
Sonsogno explains what he sees as the future for Canada’s ventilator and medical supply chain. “We believe and hope that over the next several months the global demand for ventilators will drop, and that hospitals will be treating fewer coronavirus patients, thereby easing the demands for this life saving equipment. With that said, globally, there is a realization that the supply chains supporting ventilators and other medical equipment are in need of significant improvement. I am incredibly honoured that our company is able to work on this project and I am hopeful that Smartricity and other Canadian start-ups will take a lead in improving our country’s medical supply chain.”