Thursday 16th Jul, 2020

Bulk business swaps to manufacturing ventilators

A Ballarat manufacturer of mine plant equipment has turned its focus to create ventilators, as part of Australia's global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gekko’s Technical Director, Sandy Gray, with the GeVentor. Image: Gekko Systems

A Ballarat manufacturer of mine plant equipment has turned its focus to create ventilators, as part of Australia’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company, Gekko Systems, is using its background as a Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) business to create a prototype ventilator for hospital use.

The GeVentor prototypes will soon be heading to the Therapeutic Goods Administrator for assessment ahead of a potential rollout, supported by the Victorian Government, the Committee for Ballarat, Ballarat Health Services, the Buninyong Community Bank and the wider community.

If approved, the ventilators could be available for use for Victorian patients, as well as Australian and international use.

“A growing mining industry in Victoria can and will significantly contribute to growing globally competitive and sustainable businesses, jobs and exports in the Victorian METS sector – especially in the regions,” Gekko Systems Managing Director Elizabeth Lewis-Gray said.

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In response, Victorian Resources Minister Jaclyn Symes announced the roll out of a new program to help other METS businesses grow their businesses to supply customers around the world.

The METS Regional Innovation Accelerator program is designed to help regionally-based METS businesses engage with local mining companies, fast-track product innovation and promote their services. The 2020 winter program will consist of weekly online seminars over eight weeks.

“Regional Victorians are some of the most innovative and resilient people around – Gekko’s efforts prove that and show what can be achieved when we back our METS sector to think big,” Symes said.

“Our accelerator program will help METS businesses benefit from Victoria’s mining boom, regardless of where they’re located in Victoria.”

The Victorian Government said in a release it has supported Gekko Systems and other Victorian manufacturers like Grey Innovation with funding to advance plans for the production of ventilators.

“The ability of Victorian companies to pivot and adapt so they can help in the fight against coronavirus has been impressive, and we’re proud to be backing them,” Victorian Jobs, Innovation and Trade Minister Martin Pakula said.