Mercedes has played a pivotal role in helping to produce a key device in the battle against the coronavirus.
The team’s High Performance Powertrains [HPP] department, in conjunction with mechanical engineers at University College London [UCL] and clinicians at University College London Hospitals [UCLH], have developed a breathing aid that can help keep Covid-19 patients out of intensive care.00:2200:59
Known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), the device has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help coronavirus patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily, when oxygen alone is insufficient.
The first breathing aid was produced in under 100 hours following an initial meeting. One hundred devices are to be delivered to UCLH for clinical trials, followed by the delivery of thousands in a rapid roll-out to hospitals around the country ahead of the predicted surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions.
Professor Tim Baker, of UCL Mechanical Engineering, said: “Given the urgent need, we are thankful that we were able to reduce a process that could take years down to a matter of days.
“From being given the brief, we worked all hours of the day, disassembling and analysing an off-patent device. Using computer simulations, we improved the device further to create a state-of-the-art version suited to mass production.
“We were privileged to be able to call on the capability of Formula One – a collaboration made possible by the close links between UCL Mechanical Engineering and HPP.”
Mercedes’ assistance is part of ‘Project Pitlane’, a collaboration between seven UK teams – Red Bull, Racing Point, Haas, Mercedes, McLaren, Renault and Williams – who have answered the call of the UK government for assistance in the development and manufacture of ventilators.
HPP managing director Andy Cowell said: “The Formula One 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.
“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.”