Automotive market rivals Walkinshaw Automotive Group (WAG) and Premcar have collaborated to produce a Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.
The two companies have traditionally competed in the performance car market, with WAG involved with Holden Special Vehicles and Walkinshaw Performance, alongside its interest in the Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars team.
Premcar is the current name for what was formerly known as Tickford Vehicle Engineering, a company established by Prodrive UK in the mid-1990s, which has delivered the likes of Ford’s XR6, XR6 Turbo, XR8, and others.
Together they’ve produced the CPAP machine under license in Australia from University College London and Mercedes-AMG HPP.
CLICK HERE to see Walkinshaw Automotive Group’s Ryan Walkinshaw and Nick Verboeket talk about the CPAP machine
The design has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help COVID-19 patients with serious respiratory problems to breathe more easily when oxygen via a face mask alone is insufficient.
A CPAP machine delivers constant and steady air pressure to a patient, ensuring their airway doesn’t collapse, and are commonly used before a ventilator is required, a last resort treatment.
“Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we as a business have been looking at the ways in which we could assist,” said Ryan Walkinshaw, Director of Walkinshaw Automotive Group.
“The need for a quality CPAP machine in Australia was quickly identified, one that not only assists the patient, but protects the amazing health care workers, who are already facing enough risk as it stands.
“However, it was essential for us to take our time, to ensure that a TGA-approved product was manufactured, and would be used in hospitals around the country.
“Three months ago, you’d never consider working with your biggest rival on a project, but one of the real positives that has come out of this tragedy is the unity between everyone, both locally and globally, to help in any way they can.”
Bernard Quinn, Engineering Director at Premcar, added: “I believe that it is testament to the quality of our culture and leadership in Australia that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a uniting effect on our community.
“I am very glad that Premcar and Walkinshaw Automotive Group have come together to work on the CPAP device.
“To be honest it’s not only been a tremendous outcome from a technical point of view, but the co-operation was an absolute pleasure to be part of.
“The teams gelled immediately, and the progress was swift.
“I look forward to further collaboration with our old foes from Clayton.
“I think both parties can benefit enormously from the combined skills and competencies of the two organisations.
“Perhaps more importantly, so can our customers.”
The CPAP machine can be manufactured, tested, and distributed at a rate of 1000 units per month.
WAG and Premcar are also collaborating on the repurposing of some of their existing production tools to manufacture TGA certified face shields at a rate of 100,000 per week.