Insight into the Ventilator Challenge with CBE+

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CBE+ has recently completed its first order producing parts to support the national ventilator shortage.The company undertook the challenge to machine critical components for the ventilators in an extremely short time frame to support the UK NHS throughout the COVID 19 pandemic. 

All areas of the business put time, effort and dedication into ensuring the job was done well and on time, we spoke to three key people in the process about what it was like working on the project. 

Joe Scamp, Skilled Machinist CBE+ 

What was your role in ventilator challenge UK? 

“My role included many aspects of producing the parts. Most of the parts needed to be made on a specific machine, where I am one of the most experienced and skilled operators able to use. I was the key person involved in writing the programme from scratch as the parts were a brand-new product to us.

I have done a lot of additional hours over the last month to ensure the delivery schedule was met. “

What was your main priority through the process? 

“Making sure the parts were A, correct technically, as it was a completely new component for us there were a few teething issues programming was trial and error, but we had little time to allow for errors. B, making sure the machine was optimising the amount of time it took to machine each part. Only a few seconds can make a big difference to how many parts you can make on a shift, when the end use is so critical it was important to me that this was optimal” 

What was the biggest challenge? 

“Tight tolerance was one challenge we faced, the machine we used can be temperamental and working night shifts I can’t just pop up to the office to ask a question. However, we quickly came together as a team and communication has been better than ever.”

What was the best thing about contributing to ventilator challenge UK? 

“Doing something important. A lot of products we make, we know the standards and specification but not the end use. Knowing these parts would support the country and the NHS has been a real driver more me and the rest of the team.”

Ellis Moore, Trainee financial administrator CBE+ 

What was your role in ventilator challenge UK? 

“My role was using the machine efficiency to forecast the amount of parts that would be ready on time for deliveries to the customer each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. As ventilator production is so important in the UK right now the parts were time critical, keeping the supply chain updated was very important. I also helped with de-burring, inspection and packaging to help the parts reach the customer quicker.”

What was your main priority through the process? 

“My main priority was ensuring that all parts were deburred and inspected properly, the end use of the parts meant it was critical they were right the first time. The Pandemic has the potential to affect any of us, when it’s a matter of saving someone’s life, we need to get it right.”

What was the biggest challenge? 

“The biggest challenge was meeting the demand in a short amount of time, as with all new products there’s a learning curve and this was no different. In the beginning we didn’t know how much manual work would be needed to prepare the parts after machine time however the whole business came together as a team.”

What was the best thing about contributing to ventilator challenge UK? 

“It made me proud to be part of something that is helping the country during this crisis. Everyone sees the news and knows the demand for ventilators right now, and the repercussions of not having enough. What we have doing will effectively save lives now and, in the future, it makes it all worth it.”

Richard Holdgate, Operations manager CBE+

What was your role in ventilator challenge UK? 

“I am the production controller, so my job was to ensure that everything ran as smoothly as possible. Mainly looking at machine efficiency and manning around capacity to ensure the order was complete in full and on time” 

What was your main priority through the process? 

“The customer is always the priority in any job at CBE+ and precision engineering. Their requirements and needs should always be met no matter what the order is. Knowing these parts were so critical and that they would be used in ventilators meant that not only the customer was relying on us but thousands of people across the country were depending on us.” 

What was the biggest challenge? 

“The fact that it was so time and quality critical but was a brand-new job. We had to get the research and development done in an extremely short time frame. We threw ourselves in at the deep end, there was some trial and error, but we did it and I’m really proud of my team.” 

What was the best thing about contributing to ventilator challenge UK? 

“Saving lives by producing quality components! It’s as simple as that” 

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