KKU Medicine and Engineering launch PAPR Suit, for protecting the medical professionals in Covid-19 treatment, under the ‘KKU – University of Social Dedication’ policy
Recovery of patients is the optimal goal, but that must be with the safety of the medical team. Thus, the Faculty of Medicine joined the Faculty of Engineering to invent a device, the PAPR Suit or the powered air-purifying respirator, a device that will provide safety to the medical team during their Covid-19 patient care and treatment. The two faculties presented the PAPR Suit and messenger robot to Srinagarind Hospital.
April 23, 2021 at 11:30 hours, Faculty of Medicine of Khon Kaen University held the ceremony to present 10 PAPR Suits (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) and a messenger robot to Srinagarind Hospital at Nongwaeng Room 6, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University. Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University, presided over the ceremony. Among honorable attendants were Prof. Dr. Thidarat Boonmars, Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise; Assoc. Prof. Apichat Jirawutthipong, M.D., Dean of the Faculty of Medicine; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchaphon Suntivarakorn, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chiranut Sa-ngiamsak, Associate Dean for Research and International Affairs of the Faculty of Engineering; Assoc. Prof. Songsak Kiatchusakul, M.D., Associate Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for the Hospital (Director of Srinagarind Hospital) and the research team who developed the PAPR Suit.
Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University said “PAPR Suit or the powered air-purifying respirator is the suit invented by the professors and inventers of the Faculty of Engineering, according to the Faculty of Engineering’s and Khon Kaen University’s policy. The goal is to assist the doctors at Srinagarind Hospital in their treatment and care for Covid-19 patients. It is pleasing to say that the suit has the same quality as those available in the market. Besides the PAPR suits given to the hospital today, there is also a messenger robot that will be used for transporting medical supplies and devices and equipment to the wards, which will lessen medical professionals’ contacting the patients. Today, one robot is ready to be transferred, and another 5 are being made and will be given soon. The robot is easy to be controlled. There is a map set for the robot to move automatically to the assigned points. It is truly a quality invention which is our own. It should be useful for helping the increasing number of Covid patients, and increasing the working efficiency and safety of the staff.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchaphon Suntivarakorn, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering related about the development and making of the PAPR suits, “The collaboration began from the need of Srinagarind Hospital to protect their staff when working with Covid-19 patients. The two faculties asked for the supporting budget from the Innovation Section. Consulting was sought from the engineering research team in terms of the requirements and the specifications, before the design was made. Until now, we made 10 suits, which can work well. The design and production of each part were done by the 3 D Printer, the technique of our faculty, and we are proud of this. We are happy to be part of the assistance for the medical team to have a suit to protect them from infection when they treat the patients.”
Assoc. Prof. Apichat Jirawutthipong, M.D., Dean of the Faculty of Medicine explained about the collaboration, “Ever since the last infection, we have found that the PAPR suit is an important device to make the medical staff safe, especially those who have to install respirators for the patients. Then, we did not have this device because there was until that time no severe respiratory infection like this. Srinagarind Hospital had to borrow the tool from other sources to prepare for the pandemic in Khon Kaen. Now, we received good collaboration from the Faculty of Engineering to develop our own PAPR suit until it became successful. Faculty of Medicine thanks Faculty of Engineering for inventing this suit, including the messenger robot that can now transfer medical supplies and materials to places in the hospital. The robot is very useful, for we have to reduce the time our staff contact the severe case patients, such as severe pneumonia. The robot can bring medicine and food to the patients at their ward. Before now, Faculty of Engineering also developed and produced UV and ozone sterilizers for our faculty, which we could use in time last year.”
Lastly, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chiranut Sa-ngiamsak, Associate Dean for Research and International Affairs of the Faculty of Engineering, as the representative of the research and development team, added about the collaboration of the two faculties, “The research and development team of the powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) includes Dr. Nawapak Eua-anant, a lecturer of the Department of Computer Engineering and Dr. Tinnakorn Kumsaen, a lecturer from the Department of Chemical Engineering and the team who designed the suit with lecturers from the Faculty of Medicine. The PARR suit can feed purified air using a Virus Filter, which has 99.99% efficiency in filtering bacteria and virus. There is also a sound-proof system when wearing this suit. The research team also received support from Delta Electronics Thailand, who donated high-power electric fan; Khon Kaen Khlang Lek, donating a 3D molder, and Ploypim Dressmaker, helping in designing and making the prototype hoods, or the positive-pressure hood. Most of all, the success in developing the PAPR is the budget allocated by the Innovation and Enterprise Section of Khon Kaen University.”
By Jiraporn Pratomchai