Mercedes F1 has repurposed its Brixworth factory in order to manufacture breathing aids, and has given away the design of its device freely to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
It was announced last week that Project Pitlane – involving all of the teams – was starting to deliver results, with Mercedes working in conjunction with University College London (UCL) to develop a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) breathing aid.
Reverse-engineering an existing device to allow it to be manufactured rapidly by the thousands, its design had been approved and the UK Government has since ordered 10,000 units. In order to provide for the health service, Mercedes has repurposed Brixworth – home to Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) – to produce up to 1,000 of the breathing aids per day, explaining that “40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers are being used for production of the CPAP devices”.
On top of that, the design of the devices has been made freely available for manufacturers to download. The package includes no only the designs “but will also specify materials, tools and kit used in the rapid prototyping process, as well as the fabrication time for each part” in order to help others responding to the call to address a ventilator shortfall in the UK.
“Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world,” Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-AMG HPP said. “Making the design and manufacturing specifications openly available will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to COVID-19.”
All seven UK-based teams are working with the UK Government on Project Pitlane, but only finalized projects can be discussed publicly as F1 is not the lead on the initiative.