The Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre has loaned two of its MiR200 mobile robots to support the production of life-saving Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices by Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains.
The MTC, along with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield which has also loaned two robots, has supplied the robots to help engineers in the production of 10,000 CPAP devices to help COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
CPAP devices are in short supply in UK hospitals, so engineers at University College London (UCL) and Mercedes-AMG HPP worked round-the-clock to reverse engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands. Designs of the new breathing aid developed by engineers, working with clinicians, have been made freely available to support the global response to COVID-19.
The MTC and AMRC-supplied MiR200 is a safe, mobile robot that can automate internal transportation and logistics. The robot optimises workflows, freeing staff resources to keep team members safe during the current COVID-19 challenges and aid productivity. The robots have been working continuously by transporting parts between locations to facilitate social distancing and minimise colleague contact.
Richard Kasler, automation team leader at Mercedes-AMG HPP said, “I would like to thank the MTC for loaning the MiR200s. They’ve been invaluable in allowing us to make 10,000 CPAP devices in 10 days with the least amount of people on site at Brixworth.”
He added “The robots are quite incredible. They prevailed to great success by working 24 hours a day over three shifts for 10 days, delivering every single device. One platform in particular was achieving around 20km a day on a 360m round trip through a labyrinth of narrow corridors and an extremely dynamic manufacturing hall.”
Ken Young, the MTC’s technology director, said “We were so pleased to be able to loan our robots to support the great work that is happening at Mercedes-AMG HPP. Improving worker safety is always a key factor for any organisation and with social distancing being so important at the present time it’s a pleasure to offer any of our equipment or resources to help.”
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.
The CPAP devices have been produced as part of “Project Pitlane” a collaboration between F1, the UK government and other organisations, to support the manufacture of respiratory devices.
Throughout production, Mercedes-AMG HPP quantities steadily rose to peak at 1,230 CPAP devices per day on Easter Sunday. The production data is available as open source data. This will enable local authorities to coordinate the necessary regulatory and medical approvals and help organisations around the world to start manufacturing CPAP devices quickly and efficiently.
All the details required to make the device are also now available for manufacturers to download at no cost at covid19research.uclb.com/product/ucl-cpap a research licensing website developed by UCL Business to disseminate technologies that may help the fight against Covid-19. The licensed package will include not 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.