Its name is Likhen Rod, fully approved by the National Food, Drug and Medical Technology Administration (ANMAT, for its acronym in Spanish). The project was developed by a nuclear engineer and three small businesses from Santa Fe with the purpose of reinforcing the healthcare equipment in their city due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vulcano, Ternium's client and member of the ProPymes program, participated in the initiative.
Through ProPymes, Ternium's experts invested more than 1,000 hours to make this dream come true in record time.
According to its creators, Linkhen Rod is "the respirator that was built by half Argentina". The challenge of developing, approving and making a high-tech healthcare equipment in record time was only possible due to the joint effort, with an interdisciplinary team and the assistance of several participants.
This project led by Jeremías Butto, nuclear engineer by the Instituto Balseiro, involved the contribution of several industrial entrepreneurs from Las Rosas, including Horacio Testa from Tecnoplast SRL, Hugo Tedeschi from Tedeschi Sembradoras; and Carlos Aníbal and Gabriel Moriconi from Semirremolques Vulcano.
This project came into existence with the goal of reinforcing the healthcare system within their community, which led out to an Argentinian respirator created during the pandemic and approved by the National Food, Drug and Medical Technology Administration (ANMAT).
ProPymes, the value chain support of Techint Group, has been supporting Likhen Rod since it was presented as a project by the end of April of this year. As a result of this historical bond with Vulcano, ProPymes put at their disposal its know-how and structure to assist the project development technically and logistically. It assisted with engineers and specialists, helped with the selection and provision of pieces and strategical components using its global purchasing network, analyzed and provided the requirements to get a high-tech and reliable product, and established the proper route to get the ANMAT certification with the consultants and laboratories involved. Experts invested more than 1,000 hours to make this dream come true in record time.
By mid-March, Jeremías made a business trip to ExpoAgro, where he presented the new product that Lago Fonck/ARATOM SBECCO, his technology company, was about to launch onto the market. However, it was precisely during the trade fair that the COVID-19 quarantine was declared. As it was impossible to return to Bariloche, the place where he lives, Jeremías went to his parent's house in Las Rosas, where he was born and raised.
In the middle of a conversation with the industrialists in town, his lifelong friends, he discovered that if the situation of the pandemic got worse, Las Rosas would not have the respirators required, so they decided to collaborate to create them.
This is how Jeremías, along with the aforementioned representatives of Tecnoplast SRL, Tedeschi Sembradoras and Semirremolques Vulcano, investigated the possibility of creating these respirators in Argentina, complying with all the health requirements and for the lowest possible price. Just four weeks later, the first prototype was developed.
This first design was able to enter and exit air/oxygen from an artificial lung, proving that it was a feasible idea. To manufacture this respirator, they used components that are produced in the country for other sectors to ensure the possibility of making them faster, at scale. This prototype was tested at the Rosarina Association of Anesthesiology and proved to be capable of passing all simulator tests.
To facilitate its use to health professionals, the second prototype had a touch ID, an auxiliary security and alarm system, similar to what current respirators offer. This same prototype was tested with the instruments of the Buenos Aires Society of Anesthesiologists, using the diverse equipment of the institution such as its servo lung simulator, to evaluate the clinical part. All tests were successful, which led out to the final stage of designing.
The final design of Likhen Rod had improvements related to security, alarms, and software; which completed the required standards for a professional-use mechanical respirator in intensive care units. Before requesting the ANMAT approval, the certification of three specialized laboratories was required to approve the team. This requirement ensures that they can get the U.S. FDA approval for its export.
At last, the ANMAT certified the new respirator as Class 3, which is the highest for this type of equipment. The fabrication planning process started this September 7th.
Part of the team that built the Argentinian respirator, which has already started its fabrication process.