A phone call from their alma mater, at a time when the country is facing an acute shortage of ventilators for Covid-19 patients, drew Harshit Rathore and Nikhil Kurele into manufacturing ventilators.
Rathore and Kurele are alumni of IIT-Kanpur, where their company, Nocca Robotics, was incubated in 2017. “It was a phone call from our professor Amitabha Bandopadhyay in March that turned things around and we ventured into making medical devices, first with a simple ventilator and more recently, a High Flow Oxygen Therapy Device,” said Rathore, co-founder of the Pune-based company, which is among five Indian companies to have bagged support from the Centre for Augmenting WAR with Covid-19 Heath Crisis (CAWACH) programme.
With the nationwide lockdown forcing all their employees to remain home along with scanty supply of raw materials, the challenges before the team were many. But with design and approval support from IIT-Kanpur as well as a Rs 1 crore grant provided by the Department of Science and Technology, the work soon gathered pace.
“We managed to locate local vendors for materials and our prototype was developed in a day. A basic version was readied by mid-May. After rigorous testing in hospitals and laboratories, checking with doctors, the ventilator V310 was commercialised and made available in the market in July,” said Rathore.
Pitched at a cost of Rs 3.5 lakh, over 400 units are already installed in government and private hospitals in more than 50 cities, including Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru.
“We plan to develop more medical devices as many of them are currently imported. India needs more devices that are developed and manufactured here,” said Rathore.
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