Mercedes F1 engineering have teamed up with researchers and engineers at University College London and produced a breathing aid in an astounding turnaround time. The joint team went from concept through to working model in 100 hours – a real testament to the skills of the UCL team and the Mercedes F1 team.
The breathing aid has already been approved and will start shipping 100 units to UCL for clinical trials before full scale production begins.
A successful outcome of the trials would permit the production of 1000 units per day to be sent to hospitals in desperate need for this type of equipment.
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) medical device, which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator, was developed with the help of Mercedes AMG’s HPP department in Brixworth, the unit that designs and builds the teams hybrid engines.
Mercedes has so far delivered 40 CPAP devices to UCLH, but a concerted effort by the F1 community – a collective called ‘Project Pitlane’ – will allow for the production of 1,000 units a day if trials go well.
Britain’s National Health Service is currently in need of approximately 30,000 ventilators or breathing aid devices to help support patients suffering from respiratory problems due to the coronavirus.
“The Formula 1 community has shown an impressive response to the call for support, coming together in the ‘Project Pitlane’ collective to support the national need at this time across a number of different projects,” explained Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains boss Andy Cowell.
“We have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible timeframe.”
Meanwhile a consortium of UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses in the UK has come together to produce medical ventilators for the NHS.
The “VentilatorChallengeUK” consortium includes Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.
Companies in the consortium have received orders for more than 10,000 ventilators from the government, although MHRA approval is still pending.
Production is due to begin next week.
Dick Elsy, chief executive of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said: “This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world.
“They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries.”