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Triple Eight debuts production-ready ventilator

By Tom Fraser, 28 Apr 2020 Motorsport

Supercars team passes second stage to build ventilator to combat coronavirus deaths

Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Conrod project

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship may have been put on pause months ago but Triple Eight Race Engineering is no less busy.

The race team based in Brisbane has pivoted on its axis to complete the all-encompassing challenge set by the Queensland government that saw Triple Eight develop a prototype breathing ventilator. 

Read next: LIVE Rolling coverage of COVID-19's impact on Australian motorists

Dubbed the Conrod Project, the race team has documented the latest developments of the V2 ventilator in a behind-the-scenes documentary showing just how Triple Eight was able to make something so complex from scratch, while knowing nothing about it at all.

The government’s call to arms aimed squarely at industries like that of motor racing, and Triple Eight even went over and above the government’s guidelines to provide a more well-rounded device.   

Read next: V8 Supercar teams build medical gear for Aussie hospitals

“The [Therapeutic Goods Administration] has put together a specification document which has a ‘required’ list and a ‘desired’ list for COVID-19 ventilators. Our ventilator is currently on track to satisfy both lists fully, but clearly would still need to be approved by the TGA if and when it goes into production,” said Mark Dutton, the team manager of Triple Eight.

Read next: Can the car industry really build medical ventilators?

Such additions include screens that display vital information and 4G capability for medical staff to monitor patients remotely.

Triple Eight says hospitals are not just lacking ventilators, but the staff required to monitor patients on ventilators.

“We’ve tackled that by installing onboard telemetry, like the race cars, so that means one specialist can be monitoring as many patients as they feel comfortable, whether that’s 10, 50 or 100, and with the onboard alarms they can then direct the attention to the patient that needs it,” said Dutton. 

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Triple Eight has partnered up with cooling solutions manufacturer PWR (which is also based in Queensland) on the project.

“If a ventilator like this is required at some point, for use in sub-optimal conditions such as a field hospital, then PWR is equipped with world-class facilities right here in South East Queensland that could be available to start mass manufacturing very quickly,” Dutton added.