Raytheon UK

Raytheon UK Shows Its Versatility with Ventilators

May 26, 2020
Raytheon UK is building medical ventilators for the UK’s National Health Service, first at its Glenrothes, Scotland plant then moving to larger-volume production at its Livingston, Scotland facility.

Health dangers brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in many companies reorganizing work hours and strategies. But for Raytheon UK’s manufacturing facility in Glenrothes, Scotland, the change is often drastic, from defense-related components and systems to life-saving medical systems—ventilators—capable of helping patients suffering from COVID-19. The Raytheon Technologies company has teamed with Babcock International Group to manufacture a new ventilator called the Zephyr Plus ventilator (see the figure),  which has been designed for treating COVID-19 patients.

“Our team already has a no-fail mentality,” said Paul Johnston, Raytheon UK's manufacturing director. “We have a history of building safety-critical, life-critical components and parts, so our people already have that mindset and culture going into what we’re doing with the ventilators.” Production of the ventilators will begin in the Glenrothes facility and move to Livingston, Scotland (about 15 miles west of Edinburgh) for larger-volume production. The Livingston plant was constructed for production work beginning in 2021, but the needs of COVID-19 patients have accelerated the plans to use that facility.

In reference to the fast pace to prepare the plant, Paul Jarvie, Raytheon UK’s operations manager, said: “It was fortuitous that we had just signed the agreement for the Livingston facility, but it was also a challenge. We had planned about six to eight months to bring Livingston online. We did it in six weeks.” The new plant will provide life-saving medical equipment while making employee safety a top priority, following proper social distancing practices. Ventilator production will not impact normal manufacturing operations and much of the additional workforce needed to assemble the ventilators is being supplied by volunteers among kind-hearted regular Raytheon UK employees. As Jarvie explained: “We’re looking to build ventilators that will save people’s lives. That’s ultimately what we’re doing, and every member of the team that’s supporting us is absolutely focused on that end goal. There’s absolutely no debate.”

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