Mercedes has revealed that its Formula 1 engine plant in Brixworth has been completely redesigned to produce breathing aids to help COVID-19 patients.
Mercedes-AMG high-performance powertrain members worked with engineers from University College London to reverse engineer continuous positive pressure machines (CPAP) that have received approval for use of the NHS last week.
Known as UCL-Ventura, the device is designed to keep patients out of intensive care by providing better respiratory support.
It has been evaluated at University College Hospital and other London hospitals after the government placed an order for 10,000 units.
To meet this demand in a context of a CPAP shortage in the United Kingdom, Mercedes transferred its factory in Brixworth to produce the devices before the expected peak of the COVID-19 crisis.
“After an order from the British government for up to 10,000, the devices are produced at a rate of up to 1,000 a day at the HPP technology center in Brixworth, Northamptonshire,” said a statement from Mercedes.
“Currently, 40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers are used to produce CPAP machines, and the entire Brixworth facility has been redesigned to meet this demand. “
Other progress has been made with the UCL-Ventura (below).
The device’s Mark II has reduced oxygen consumption by up to 70% compared to Mark I and has also received government approval.
Mercedes has also made the device open-source with the title sponsor of its F1 team, Petronas, confirming that it will produce the devices in Malaysia.
Details for manufacturers on how to produce the device can be found here.
“Since the announcement of the project, we have received an incredible number of inquiries about the CPAP device from around the world,” said Mercedes HPP chief Andy Cowell.
“The open availability of design and manufacturing specifications will enable companies around the world to produce these devices at high speed and on a large scale to support the global response to COVID-19.” “
Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost Health, added: “These lifesaving devices will provide vital support to the NHS in the coming weeks, helping to keep patients off ventilators and reducing the demand for beds and nursing staff intensive.
“We believe they can also make a real difference worldwide by supporting healthcare systems preparing for COVID-19. “
Along with the six other F1 teams based in the UK, Mercedes is part of the “Pitlane Project”, a program that will see sport engineering capabilities diverted to support the fight against COVID-19.