Mercedes will begin delivering breathing aids to the NHS this week after a groundbreaking transformation of their Brixworth facility. Seven F1 teams in total have combined their respective technology expertise to help manufacture medical devices for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Project Pitlane, as it’s been called, has seen teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren pool together the resources and technological advances they have available to them to help the NHS.
Mercedes in particular have transformed their High Performance Powertrains technology centre to start production of the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices.
The breathing aids were developed by engineers in the Mercedes team along with University College London and clinicians at UCL hospital.
Together, they have been able to develop a device which can be manufactured rapidly, with 1,000 being built per day.
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Mercedes’ centre would have usually been producing F1 pistons and turbochargers but the Formula One team have now completely transformed that facility to fit the needs to build the CPAP devices.
There are also plans in place to make the designs readily available for other manufacturers to download in order to help an even larger mass production.
With thousands of patients testing positive for coronavirus every day still, it is hoped this device will help the global response so that healthcare systems around the world will have it available to them as well.
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.
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“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.”
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The F1 season has been put on hold for the time being with no clear indication on when it could begin.
The Canadian Grand Prix is scheduled to be the first race of the season in June, but reports have suggested that could also be cancelled or postponed.
It has been suggested the season could be extended into next year though with F1 keen to stage between 15 and 18 races.
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