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Prototek Helps Build Emergency Ventilator

Published Wednesday Aug 5, 2020

Prototek produced parts for Meter’s Rise Emergency Ventilator. Courtesy photo.

A Contoocook manufacturer has joined a coalition to develop and build an affordably produced ventilator. Prototek Rapid Prototyping, Sheet Metal and Machining was selected by Meter, a Boston and San Francisco-based industrial hardware startup, to partner in the development of Meter’s Rise Emergency Ventilator.

The Rise Emergency Ventilator was designed for rapid scaling with components available in the current supply chain and without the need for medically specialized manufacturing. It is under review for an FDA Emergency Use Authorization during the COVID-19 pandemic. But to get to the review stage, Meter needed partners, including Prototek, that could turn the work around fast.

“We focus on more low-volume R&D projects, contract manufacturing, and built to order,” says Prototek President Brian Francoeur, adding they have experience with other ventilator projects. “We are building the enclosure and many of the internal parts as well. (Meter) reached out to us because of our niche. Speed and service is what we sell here. So, we were able to turn that around in a very short amount of time.”

Prototek has nearly 175,000 square feet of manufacturing workspace across four facilities: two in Contoocook, one in Wisconsin and one in California, where every production job is different. They might be making parts for experimental vehicles, ventilators or microscopes one day and welded shelves, computer housings, or precision parts for aerospace the next.

Francoeur says Prototek, which has been in business for 30 years, is heavily invested in aerospace and defense work, which makes up about 30% to 35% of sales in a typical year. He says R&D is not as vulnerable to economic downturns because it is so diversified. “Our sales have had great growth,” says Francoeur.

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