Minnesota company develops machine that could help COVID patients breathe

A company out of Hamel, Minnesota is changing course in light of the pandemic.

Tolomatic employees wanted to do something to help, so after a little brainstorming they came up with a way to use their product in a way that could actually save lives.

Tolomatic normally makes a product that kind of help move things along. But staff never dreamed that one of those things would be a pair of lungs.

The coronavirus pandemic has made us all cherish every breath we take. The struggle to breathe very real for some patients with the virus. with that in mind, Tolomatic employees thought they could help.

"We ordered parts and we fabricated and came up with two functioning prototypes in less than a week," explained Paul Carlson of Tolomatic.

Tolomatic makes actuators for the automotive, food processing, agricultural and many other industries. But with an idea to re-purpose the product, they came up with something that could save lives.

Using a readily available Ambu bag, they added an actuator and something that can normally be used for minutes can now run for months.

"We’re simply taking over the job of the human hand and doing it more repeatedly, in this case, this, prototype has been running for over two weeks," said Carlson.

Stroke length, speed, and frequency can be controlled. engineers just need a little more input.

"What we really need to do is have a doctor tell us what buttons we need and how to adjust that and how a nurse or a practitioner would want to adjust this device," Andy Zaske said.

Carlson believes this device could close a real gap that in some cases seems to be wide open.

"Where there is not a ventilator available for the patient, and the patient still needs assistance with breathing, we think this is a viable solution for those cases that have progressed where the patient does need some assistance," said Carlson.

Tolomatic is already getting calls about using this core technology for a new type of breathing apparatus.