Guilford Company Builds Ventilators to Meet Worldwide Demand

NBC Universal, Inc.

At a warehouse in Guilford, employees at Bio-Med Devices are hard at work trying to fill orders for life-saving ventilators.

“I’m working seven days a week, 11-hour days,” said Keith Wilson, a service manager with Bio-Med Devices.

Wilson has been with the company for 22 years. It’s been around since 1973 and Wilson says they’ve never seen a demand for products like they have right now.

They’re filling orders for two versions of a ventilator that helps people who can’t breathe on their own. They’re also building a third machine, an oxygen blender, for patients who don’t need a full ventilator and use oxygen through a tube in the nose.

Their work is in response to the world medical community looking for help in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re working overtime during the week and Saturday and Sundays at this point,” said Dean Bennett, president and CEO of Bio-Med Devices.

The company has shipped orders to Italy, Japan and around the world. They’re working with suppliers to get parts quickly. Some parts can take months.

Bennett says they’ve had to turn down orders because demand is unprecedented. While they’re the only ones in Connecticut building ventilators, he fears there will be an industry shortage in parts at some point.

The days are long, but employees say they’re moved by the work they’re doing.

“Everybody is really pulling together and working to get stuff out to literally save people’s lives, and it’s a real privilege,” said Raymond Huey, director of engineering for Bio-Med Devices.

“I don’t know how to put it into words. Emotional, just knowing what we’re doing can save somebody’s life hopefully,” said Wilson.

They’ve hired 12 new staff members on the manufacturing line and past employees have offered to help.

“The support has been very strong,” said Bennett.

They’ve been shipping orders around the world and now they’re finding ways to meet U.S. demand. 

“I’d like to see some stay here in Connecticut. That’s where we are, as well as in the U.S.” said Bennett.

He adds that Yale New Haven Hospital and the state Department of Health are looking for machines. He says filling all of the orders would not be possible without the team, putting in the work the world needs.

“Our thoughts are just being able to put our nose down and put together as many products, ventilators, as we can and get them out because they literally will be saving lives.”

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