In response to the call of the General Secretary, the President, the Prime Minister of Vietnam for the whole country’s participation in supporting COVID-19 fight and under the drastic guidance of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung; on April 3, 2020, Vingroup announced its decision to produce (invasive and non-invasive) ventilators of all types and body thermometers to the domestic market.
At 12 PM on March 30th, 2020, the Group’s Leaders convened an emergency meeting and requested all of its Research Institutes to stop daily tasks and focus on finding and researching methods to produce ventilators. The units assigned the main responsibility include Automobile R&D Institute 1, Automobile R&D Institute 2, Mobile Device Research Institute, Smart Home Appliances R&D Institute, Telecommunication Equipment R&D Institute, Smart Battery R&D Institute, VinFast Automobile Factory and VinSmart Electronics Equipment Factory. All Group Leaders and specialized departments are responsible for coordination, support and are required to work directly via telephone on a 24/24 hour basis.
After just one day and night, they found a lot of partners willing to share their design and necessary information to start production. Soon after that, Vingroup entered into a license agreement with US-based Medtronic to use their design for the PB560 invasive ventilator and at the same time began researching a non-invasive ventilator based on the community-shared design by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The supply is divided into 2 categories. The former includes components that can be purchased on the market and the later includes components which must be self-made by Vingroup or made with Vingroup’s cooperation or support to manufacturing partners because of their limited production capacity. “Vingroup has an advantage of having both automobile factory and electronics factory which enable us to manufacture both large and mechanical parts as well as rare and smaller parts at the same time such as electronic boards. Our excellent design engineers are capable of transforming the conceptual and 2D designs into detailed and complete designs required by the manufacturers” – said Mrs. Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup.
It is expected that the first batches of components for non-invasive ventilators will arrive in two weeks and components for invasive ventilators will arrive in another two weeks. The group claimed that with enough components, it can produce ventilators in one day and transfer them to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology for appraisal and quality tests before they are distributed to health facilities nationwide.
The group has successfully tested and produced their body thermometers with the component cost at VND16 million, about ten times lower than other body thermometers on the market. The group estimated the component cost for a non-invasive ventilator at about VND22 million and for an invasive ventilator at VND160 million.
“We expect to supply these devices to the Ministry of Health at their component cost. We won‘t include the costs of transportation, labour, production and other costs as well as taxes into the price. In the immediate future, we will give the MOH 5,000 non-invasive ventilators to timely treat COVID-19 patients” – said CEO of Vingroup Nguyen Viet Quang. He added that “In addition, with the capacity of VinFast and VinSmart factories, the group can produce up to 45,000 non-invasive ventilators and 10,000 invasive ventilators per month and we can support other manufacturers around the world by processing equipment for them, or providing part of the demand – any specific quantity depending on their ability to supply components“.
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