Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering is steering its manufacturing skills in a new direction in response to the increased strain on the health sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company's engineering team has developed a low-cost ventilator prototype with input from medical professionals, local intensive care unit experts and the Queensland Department of State Development.
"We were able to utilise in-house 3D printing services provided by our team partner HP and we believe the ventilator could be put into production within a short space of time but we are now continuing development with the help of the Department to improve our unit further," says team principal Roland Dane.
"The Department of State Development have helped us identify and build supply chains for required componentry and ventilator accessories such as alarm circuitry, tubing and masks.
"This is very early days, and we have to make sure all regulatory requirements are met, but we stand ready to help in whatever way we can."
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick says the local race car company has been working around the clock for the past two weeks to develop the prototype.
"This is what Queensland manufacturing is all about. Hard work, ingenuity and solving problems," says Dick.
"It's so impressive that, within just a few weeks, this company has transitioned their capability, intellect and resources to a product that could ultimately save lives."
The minister says it is also fantastic to hear Triple Eight has focused on using readily available, local materials.
"Triple Eight suspended its usual operation following the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, and the positive, forward-looking approach of this company has been heartening to see," he says.
"I'm so proud of the innovation and agility of my team, and what we can do when we put our minds to it," adds Dane.
Leanne Linard, Member for Nudgee says the prototype is a wonderful initiative by a great local company.
"While there is still a long way to go, I know the engineering capability at Triple Eight is second to none," she says.
"It's great to see so many local companies stepping up at this time."
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth says the country currently has 2,200 ventilated beds and is aiming for 7,500. Companies like ResMed (ASX: RMD) have also risen to the challenge.
Updated at 1:32pm AEDT on 1 April 2020.