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Supercars teams encouraged to join medical manufacturing

Simon Chapman

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Thursday 2nd April, 2020 - 6:00am

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The range of full-face masks and Perspex protective boxes

Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan says he’ll give other Supercars teams and any other interest parties its CAD models to increase production of protective medical devices.

The team is in the midst of manufacturing equipment designed to protect health care workers from infected patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first of three devices is a custom made Perspex box that fits over the neck and chest of patients infected with COVID-19.

A flat-pack version has been produced for ambulances and Royal Flying service. An adapted full-face snorkelling mask fitted with an air filter has also been developed.

Distribution of the protective devices began this week with support from Tim Blanchard of Team CoolDrive.

The programme is a nationwide effort to support medical facilities, with aerosol boxes already distributed to most states.

Speaking with select media, including Speedcafe.com, after the announcement, Ryan said he would make the digital models available to teams and other businesses should they wish to help with manufacturing.

“We really want to get it out there so we can get the maximum support, so I’ve just sent an email to all of the team owners and obviously they’ve all started replying with ‘yeah we can do this, we can help with this’,” said Ryan.

“I’m sure our community of Supercars teams, their network of their sponsorship groups and all of their partners will be able to help.”

Ryan said he hoped teams would leverage off of their ties to increase production and outsource the manufacturing of the equipment.

“We went to all the Supercar team owners and have started a bit of a network with their suppliers,” Ryan added.

“Some are in Brisbane, some are in Sydney, some are in Perth. We can send the CAD model to them and they can make them.

“Then hopefully they’re close to a hospital and can go and deliver it. That’s the ultimate solution that minimises freight and maximises manufacturing.”

Dr Carl Le said he hopes other medical professionals from around the country will request the equipment.

“We want to get this word out about what we’re doing and want health care workers to contact us if they want to get samples of these,” he said.

“I’ve used my contacts and we’re in the process of making those boxes and masks to go out to Adelaide.

“We’re awaiting numbers and responses from New South Wales and Queensland as well.

“We’re wanting people to ask us, get in contact with us. We want them to make the call saying please send us some samples so that we can test these.

“In the initial phase, we need to let people know that these are available before the storm hits and they can be ready.”

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said he’s been encouraged by the efforts of Erebus Motorsport and Triple Eight Race Engineering.

While Erebus has made protective equipment for health care workers, Triple Eight has built a ventilator prototype that could go into production.

“The teams are entrepreneurial and the teams will do whatever they have to do to fix a problem,” said Seamer.

“Betty Klimenko said it best, what she loves about this is that she’s got a group of engineers and mechanics that just need to fix things.

“They get a broken car that comes back to pit lane or they’ve got a problem they’ve got to fix overnight, they’ve just gotta fix it.

“What you’re seeing is Erebus and other teams up and down the pit lane transferring that energy from a racing issue to a health issue and I think that’s fantastic, and good on them.”

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