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Emergency Ventilator Making Being Explored By VW And Other Auto Companies

Emergency Ventilator Making Being Explored By VW And Other Auto Companies
Investigations into the use of 3D printing in order to help the hospital ventilators to combat the coronavirus are being carried out by the German car making giant Volkswagen Group along with other manufacturers round the world.
Auto manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Ferrari and Nissan are being enlisted by governments to increase the production of ventilators and other medical equipment that are in short supply but critical for the treatment of fast-spreading and deadly novel coronavirus.
A task force has been created by VW to examine the possibilities of making use of 3D printing technology to help hospital with making more ventilators and other life-saving equipment, the company said in a statement on Friday.
It said that materials are being tested and supply chains are being checked by it for making use of the more than 125 industrial 3D printers that it possess.
"Medical equipment is a new field for us. But as soon as we understand the requirements, and receive a blueprint, we can get started," VW said. Its Skoda unit of the company has been included in the project, the company said and added that prototype components had already been printed by it.
Need assessment was being carried out by the company in close cooperation with governments and other authorities, a VW spokesman said.
Bentley, the ultra luxury brand of the VW group also wants to be part of the project.
"When needs must, we can perform and I'm sure the same would be true for ventilators ... if we were given the right brief and opportunity to do so," said Bentley’s CEO Adrian Hallmark.
It wanted to help in relief efforts, said the group’s car brand, Porsche, on Friday. "We are collecting ideas about what we could do in terms of humanitarian help," said the brand’s CEO Oliver Blume during a conference call to discuss earnings.
BMW said it too was ready to help. "The production of components using 3D printing technology is a possibility," the company said.
An emergency ventilator prototype has already been developed by an engineering consortium that includes McLaren and Nissan in the United Kingdom. The prototype could get approval by the end of next week after which it can be used in hospitals.
Efforts of boosting the manufacturing of ventilators is also being carried out in Italy with car makers Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are discussing the issue with Siare Engineering, the biggest ventilator manufacturer of the country.
On the other hand, a call to governments to consider the virus pandemic seriously and prevent movement of people was given by Volvo Cars.
"I think for the economy, we need to do something drastic, rather then trying half-hearted measures that drag on forever," Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said. "We are seeing the effect from this coronavirus is increasing every day."
Samuelsson said the recovery of the world from the virus pandemic through coordinated efforts were critical for the recovery chances of the global auto industry. "There is a big difference between countries. Some have curfews, with restaurants and schools closed. In other countries there are less drastic measures. I just think we need to synchronize that more."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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