The world needs respirators. Car companies, F1 engineers and 3D printing enthusiasts help

Automotive companies, Formula 1 teams, institutes and independent creators and 3D printing enthusiasts are involved in helping medical services from around the world. The goal is one: to produce as many respirators and constructions as possible to facilitate breathing for people with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The most dangerous symptom of COVID-19 disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, is severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. In practice, this means huge breathing problems, which in the most severe cases can lead to the death of the patient.

For now, we do not have any effective weapon that would protect us from being infected with coronavirus, so doctors from all over the world remain symptomatic treatment, i.e. keeping patients in the best possible condition.

In the case of people with acute respiratory failure, this very often means the need to connect to apparatus that facilitates and supports the respiration process, i.e. respirators.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that the number of infected with coronavirus is growing at a record pace, many countries do not have enough of these devices. Spain's crisis staff on March 30 announced that after the adoption of just over 4,000. patients in intensive care units (ICUs) in state-owned hospitals, there is no room for more patients. This means that the Spaniards had just over 4,000. respirators.

In Poland, the situation looks a bit better - according to Łukasz Szumowski, the minister of health, our hospitals have 10,000 respirators. So far this number seems sufficient. It is not known, however, how much the number of coronavirus infected people will increase in the coming weeks.

VentilAid - an open source respirator that can be made on a 3D printer

For now, this project has no medical approvals, but according to the assurances of Matusz Janowski, who created the first prototype, VentilAid works. What's more, it can be assembled from popular technical parts and elements printed on a 3D printer. The design of the device itself has already been made available on the network, but its creators emphasize that it is so-called last resort solution.

- When we run out of respirators, we will have technology available to people around the world. We have preliminary consultations, more research is needed from experts in the field of medical equipment to help us develop the project to such a shape to be 100%. sure we won't hurt anyone. We tested the prototype on ourselves and took measurements, but this is obviously not enough and tests on specialized devices are needed. - says Bartosz Wilk, co-creator of the device.

Renault, PSA, Seat, FCA, Ferrari, Tesla, Land Rover, Toyota, Opel, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen ... the list is still growing

Politicians around the world are calling for the help of car concerns. This help is of course based on switching from the production of automotive components to respirators or even components for their production.

Seat engineers, after designing 13 prototypes of ready breathing devices, chose one that is to be mass-produced. It's called OxyGEN and was created in cooperation with Protofy.XYZ. Respirators manufactured in Spain will use, among others gearbox main shaft, or modified windscreen wiper motor.

Elon Musk , in turn , declared that Tesla will start producing respirators at its gigafabrice plant in Buffalo, in the part responsible for the production of solar panels until now.

French companies - Renault and PSA announced unusual cooperation for it. Renault will manufacture respirator parts and PSA will prepare a production line for them. The devices will rely heavily on components created on 3D printers.

Volkswagen, in turn, has already launched the production of protective masks to be sent to German doctors. The German company also announced that it is about to start producing respirators. BMW and Opel made similar declarations.

Mercedes, in turn, took advantage of the talent of engineers from its Formula 1 team , who managed to create a prototype of their version of the respirator within 100 hours of receiving the order. CPAP (Continous Positive Airway Pressure), because this is the name of the device, has already received initial approvals and is waiting for the final assessment of specialists. If it turns out to be successful, Mercedes says it can produce up to 1,000 such devices a day.

Another strategy was taken by Nissan and McLaren, which want to use the knowledge and experience of their engineers to accelerate the existing production processes of medical equipment.

This is a beautiful picture in this difficult time. And reflection for the future

There is something encouraging in a situation in which (mainly) privately managed companies decide to quickly retrain in order to help patients and doctors struggling with coronavirus. It is also difficult to blame individual countries for the need for this help.

Until now, we did not need a huge number of respirators in intensive care units, so it is not surprising that no country has bought, for example, a million of such devices just to make them unused in warehouses for the next x years.

Now, however, after the appearance of the coronavirus, the situation has changed. It also shows new challenges that we have to face in the coming years. What if SARS-CoV-2 is not the last virus that will upside down our current idea of ​​what a well-equipped health care should look like?

Maybe in 2022 we will need mass production of a completely different medical device? Then what? Will we turn to the corporations for help again? Or maybe it's time to think about how to simplify the construction of most medical devices in such a way that in the event of another pandemic be able to immediately start their production on 3D printers?

By the way, it is also an interesting issue that of all these new technologies that we are fascinated with on a daily basis, 3D printing turned out to be the most useful in a crisis situation. Where are all these ultra-fast machine learning algorithms for monitoring infected people and modeling optimal quarantine rules and fighting the spread of the virus?

Even China, with its citizen scoring system, has failed to implement infected control quickly enough to avoid this whole pandemic. All this technology development that has happened over the past decade, excluding 3D printers, has not proved to be very helpful in the current crisis. What does this say about its direction?

The world needs respirators. Car companies, F1 engineers and 3D printing enthusiasts help


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