RENISHAW has joined a consortium of businesses which have come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK's battle against the coronavirus.

The firm, which is based at Wotton under Edge, but also has sites at Stonehouse, Woodchester and Charfield, is part of Ventilator Challenge UK, a consortium of engineering firms which also includes Airbus, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and a series of Formula One motor racing teams.

Over the past week the consortium has been working to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System ("RMVS") developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency(MHRA).

And Renishaw has been part of the consortium, which has been evaluating all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators.

Will Lee, chief executive of Renishaw, said: "I am proud that Renishaw is part of a consortium that will be supplying ventilators to the UK's National Health Service as part of a global effort to increase the supply of this vital equipment."

The consortium has now received an order for 10,000 from the Government and has revealed it is in a position to accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production.

The device is said to combine existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians' first choice for the RMVS.

The consortium is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design. Production will begin this week.

Ventilator Challenge UK said it was "committed to playing its role in delivering both medical ventilator designs to he required specifications and, in conjunction with these other companies, organisations and groups, aid the delivery of additional ventilators to the NHS".

A statement from the group said the companies involved have taken many of their people from key company projects to do this and serve the national need.

Dick Elsy, the manufacturing executive who is leading the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium, said: “[The consortium members] are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”