Mercedes F1 tackles Covid-19 07 | 04 | 2020

    MERCEDES FORMULA 1 has entirely repurposed its engine facility at Brixworth for the production of breathing aids to assist Covid-19 patients. Up to 1000 units will be produced daily at the Northamptonshire facility. The Government has already ordered 10,000 units.

    And the team has released full details to other manufacturers to allow them to also produce the breathing aid as the world unites to combat Covid-19.

    Working with engineers from University College London (UCL), members of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain united to reverse-engineer Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines. The CPAP received approval for NHS usage last week.

    The UCL-Ventura breathing aid — CPAP — helps Covid-19 patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, when an oxygen mask alone is insufficient. It is also aimed at keeping patients out of intensive care.


    “The breathing aid was produced, with support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH, within a rapid timeframe; it took fewer than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device,” a release from Mercedes reads.

    “Mark II of the device, which has reduced oxygen consumption by up to 70% compared to the Mark I model, received MHRA regulatory approval last week.

    “All the details required to make the device are also now available for manufacturers to download at no cost by clicking here, a research licensing website developed by UCL Business to disseminate technologies that may help the fight against Covid-19.


    “The licensed package includes not only the designs, but also specifies materials, tools and kit used in the rapid prototyping process, as well as the fabrication time for each part.

    “It is hoped that, by making this information widely available, this may help the global response to the crisis by enabling healthcare systems around the world to provide respiratory support for patients with Covid-19.”

    To initiate the first supply of CPAP its, Mercedes has committed its Brixworth facility to produce the devices ahead of the anticipated peak of the Covid-19 crisis.

    “After a UK Government order for up to 10,000, the devices are being produced at a rate of up to 1,000 a day at the HPP technology centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire,” Mercedes continued.


    “Currently, 40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers are being used for production of the CPAP devices, and the entire Brixworth facility has been repurposed to meet this demand.”

    Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, explained the company’s global commitment to ensuring the mass-production of the pifs-saving units.

    “Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world,” Cowell 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.”


    CPAP machines are routinely used by the NHS to support patients in hospital or at home with breathing difficulties. They work by pushing an air-oxygen mix into the mouth and nose at a continuous pressure, keeping airways open and increasing the amount of oxygen entering the blood stream. Invasive ventilators deliver breaths directly into the lungs, but require heavy sedation and connection to a tube placed into the patient’s trachea (windpipe).

    The breathing aid has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help Covid-19 patients with serious respiratory problems to breathe more easily, when oxygen via a face mask alone is insufficient.

    The collaboration has been supported by the National Institute for Health Research UCLH


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    Jim McGill


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