The technology part of “defence and technology” conglomerate Denel has mobilised expertise and resources to design and develop medical ventilators in support of the national campaign to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Denel chief executive Danie du Toit said Denel Aeronautics and Denel Dynamics engineers are working round the clock on Project Sabela – “we are heeding the call” – in partnership with other state-owned entities, research bodies and companies in the medical technology sphere.
“The project is still in its early stages, but we’re optimistic this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators required in numbers at public and private hospitals,” he said in a statement.
“We are proud to respond speedily and positively to a Department of Public Enterprises request to drive the ventilator project. As a state-owned company we are committed to utilising our skills, technology and experience in support of national objectives including combatting the Covid-19 pandemic on our doorstep”.
A task team with expertise from Denel, Armscor, Eskom, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and others is investigating designs and looking produce a prototype local ventilator.
“Project Sabela sees a major focus of Denel expertise onto the humanitarian and medical crisis South Africa faces,” Du Toit said, adding he was “confident, major steps will be taken in development and production of South African ventilators”.
Another Denel Group company – PMP – is looking at production of sanitisers for industrial and medical use once certification issues are clarified. Many chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives can be utilised for production of sanitisers.
Denel Land Systems are looking at options to convert Casspirs into field ambulances, said Du Toit.