Coronavirus Covid-19 – Mahindra’s Bag Valve Mask to cost less than Rs 7,500

Mahindra’s low-cost Ambu lifesaver designed in 48 hours

Mahindra Group's Kandivali and Igatpuri teams who have worked on the Bag Valve Mask Ventilator and produced this in 48 hours

About ten days ago, Anand Mahindra, the chairman of the Mahindra Group, announced plans to use the company’s manufacturing facilities to make ventilators to fight the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the Mahindra Group’s engineering and design teams worked on manufacturing ventilators and building prototypes. India, like many other countries across the world, faces a shortage of life-saving medical devices such as ventilators, which, according to US prez Trump are ‘very expensive.’ (The implication is that the cost of a single ventilator is something like US$ 100,000 or Rs. 75 lakhs).

The company has already indigenously developed a prototype of a bag valve mask, which is commonly known as an Ambu bag and could cost less than Rs 7,500 (US$ 100) according to a company statement. While sharing the update on 26 March 2020, Pawan Goenka, managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra, tweeted, “The company along with two large public sector entities is working with an existing manufacturer of ‘high spec ventilators’ to help them to simplify design and scale-up capacity. On the other hand, we are working on an automated version of the Bag Valve Mask ventilator (also known as Ambu bag). We hope to have a Proto ready in 3 days for approval. Once proven, this design will be made available to all for manufacturing.”

Goenka also acknowledged the support from individuals and other companies towards Mahindra Group’s efforts to make ventilators and said that a prototype is likely ready in 3 days for approval.

Mahindra applauded the team of engineers from his company involved in making the prototypes. He tweeted, “So, so proud of our Kandivali and Igatpuri teams who confined themselves to the factories and without sleep produced this in 48 hours. With humility, we will seek guidance from specialists on the usefulness of the device. Whatever the outcome, they have shown India fights back.”

Mahindra said in another tweet that the Ambu-bag developed in-house is a game-changer in quickly providing large numbers of low-cost lifesavers, particularly when ICU ventilators are still scarce. “We are simultaneously working with an indigenous maker of ICU ventilators. These are sophisticated machines costing between 5 to 10 lakhs. This device is an interim lifesaver, and the team estimates it will cost below Rs 7,500.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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