Fort Collins-Based Woodward Teams With CSU To Help Meet Colorado’s Coronavirus Ventilator Needs

April 7, 2020

Woodward, a Fort Collins-based aerospace and industrial manufacturer, is working with Colorado State University to produce ventilators in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The state has sought more of the machines, which can mechanically force air into someone’s compromised lungs. As hospitalizations due to COVID-19 tick up, the state’s supply of ventilators could be maxed out.

The company has a prototype and initial tests have been successful, a Woodward spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The company plans to begin submitting plans to the Food and Drug Association for approval today, according to the statement. 

Bryan Wilson, executive director at the CSU Energy Institute, recommended Woodward to Gov. Jared Polis’ team as a potential producer, according to the company statement. Wilson contacted Woodward CEO Tom Gendron to ask for assistance. 

JB Holston, engineering dean at the University of Denver, told CPR’s Colorado Matters on Monday that Woodward was working on developing low-cost ventilators for the state that could be delivered in a few weeks. Holston, who serves on the Innovation Response Team formed by Polis, said the company is accelerating work that it was already doing with CSU prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we’ve decided to do, and the governor has asked us to do, is look everywhere and work closely with doctors,” Holston said. 

The supply chain for ventilators will be constrained for the next 60 to 90 days, according to Holston. The largest ventilator manufacturers have been swamped with orders they can’t fill, he said. “They’re suddenly just besieged by everybody ordering everything,” Holston said.

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