The engineers of the Mercedes F1 team along with the University College of London helped by clinicians at the UCL Hospital have designed a new breathing aid or ventilator system. The design of the device has been made freely available globally as a response to support in the current time of crisis to fight against the Coronavirus. This venture is a part of Formula 1’s initiative called “Project Pitlane”.
Mercedes are calling it the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. The device is designed to help COVID-19 affected patients with lung infections to breathe more easily. The teams at Mercedes, the university and the hospital worked round the clock to reverse engineer a device that could be easily and rapidly manufactured in large numbers and is said to have taken just under 100 hours to design and produce the first device.
The design of the device has been provided with the regulatory approval last week after patient evaluations at UCLH and across sister hospitals in the London area. The team have received an order of 10,000 units by the British National Health Service (NHS) and they will be manufactured at the Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains technology centre in Brixworth.
The facility in Brixworth is where the F1 team designs and develops its power units for its successful F1 cars. It has currently employed its 40 machines that are usually used to produce F1 pistons and turbochargers to produce the CPAP device. Currently, the entire facility has been repurposed to meet the demand for the device and the team are now able to manufacture 1,000 devices a day.
Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said: “Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world.
“Making the design and manufacturing specifications available on an ‘open source’ basis will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to COVID-19.”
Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost Health, added: “These life-saving devices will provide vital support to the NHS in coming weeks, helping to keep patients off ventilators and reducing demand on intensive care beds and staff.
“It is a phenomenal achievement that they are arriving at hospitals only two weeks after the first prototype was built. It shows what can be done when universities, hospitals and industry work together for the national good.”
The team have also made the design of the device publicly available to download by other manufacturers to help the healthcare systems support patients affected with the coronavirus. It hopes that making the information widely available may help the global response to the crisis and provide respiratory support for patients with the virus around the world.
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