The auto industry is rushing to the aid of hospitals, facing Corona

The automotive industry is putting its experience in serving the hospital sector to develop respirators in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, in an initiative that raises some reservations.

General Motors and Ford in the United States and BSA in France, as part of an alliance that also includes Value Equipment Inc. as well as Formula 1 engineers, have joined the initiative to provide these critical, life-saving medical equipment that hospitals are suffering from.

But it is not without difficulties, as evidenced by the controversy between General Motors and US President Donald Trump, who criticized the American carmaker for being late in starting and that it required a lot of money. Therefore, by decree, the Detroit giant was required to prepare its plant in Kokomo, Indiana, for rapid respiratory manufacturing.

Things happened more easily with Mercedes, which had asked its Formula 1 team to stop working because of the delay or cancellation of the grand prize, that it would get you busy.

The six-time world champion team made a respiratory system that relieves the lungs of some patients infected with the emerging coronavirus and was able to reserve respiratory devices that require anesthesia and tube insertion into the trachea, for serious cases. The plant can quickly produce about a thousand devices a day.

Mercedes's Formula 1 team also joined Project Line, which brings together other teams such as Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, Racing Poet, Haas and Renault to also work on this type of Devices.

The main idea behind this is to take advantage of the characteristics of one of the Formula 1 factories and includes "the ability to rapidly design, prototype development and accurate assembly", according to the presentation of the project "Projectline".

Mark Gillan, the British agency official "Innovate UK" associated with the project, visited himself the Formula 1 McLaren and Jaguar / Red Bull plants, and Toyota and Williams.

However, some do not view with satisfaction the entry of the automotive industry on the path of the medical world.

In a recent article, the non-governmental "Atomic Scientists Bulletin", a non-governmental organization known in particular for tracking the "end of the world", believes that the logic that carmakers are the best to do the job is not correct.

And the association wrote: "Breathing devices may look like pumps and air conditioning systems used in cars, but few manufacturers manufacture their own devices, but rather they hire specialized contractors."

She added that if automobile companies currently have unused production capabilities, they are nevertheless dependent on subcontractors, and they are far from production centers in a period when restrictions were imposed on transportation at the planet level as well as possible restrictions on export.

Renault officials say auto engineers are offering their expertise in using advanced equipment such as 3D printers. They also benefit from large industrial capabilities such as that owned by the Renault Technology Center in Giancore, which is the largest R&D center in France.

Aid to the hospital sector during epidemic periods often begins with individual initiatives. In Spain, engineers at Renault, on their own initiative, designed masks and plastic masks to protect the eyes and face, which were then manufactured by 3D printers available in fixed factories, according to the same source.

Donald Trump used the war economy argument to justify his request to share car factories, taking the example of Ford and GM's involvement in aircraft manufacturing during World War II.

The NGO criticized the justification by saying, "These pictures showing Ford's production lines for fighter planes do not contribute to solving the problem." And she considered that there is a big difference between designing a machine and printing it on a 3D printer and then producing it in large quantities.

However, as officials from the CPAP project with which Formula 1 cooperated, "It took less than 100 hours between the first meeting to discuss the matter and the production of the first prototype," it said. It is a regular race car timeout, but not necessarily in other sectors.

 

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