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Helping where we can in the fight against Covid-19

Helping where we can in the fight against Covid-19
As the world comes to terms with the coronavirus crisis, different parts of the economy are adapting and collaborating in ways that would have been unthinkable even weeks ago. Hotels are offering their rooms to health workers; gin distilleries producing bottles of hand sanitizer; some of the world’s biggest brands switching their business model almost overnight to manufacture the products that will keep people alive in the coming months.

When it became clear that the NHS was experiencing a severe shortage of equipment to care for patients and keep their staff safe, individuals and businesses started working together to see if they could help.

Rapid has been happy to play a small role in several of these projects so far. Last Friday we were contacted by University College London to request if we could supply oxygen sensors for a device that was being developed by UCL’s Institutes of Healthcare Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in partnership with the Mercedes F1 manufacturing team. The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are breathing aids which can keep patients breathing without the need for a ventilator, reducing the pressure on intensive care resources.

We prioritised the order and was able to deliver the products in a few hours. The CPAP devices were initially trialled at four London hospitals but have already been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Mercedes have the capacity to produce 1000 of the devices per day and the UK government announced this week that they would be placing an order for up to 10,000 units and distributing them to hospitals pending patient evaluations.

The designs of the CPAP devices have now been released by Mercedes for public use and are available here:

Manufacturers, research Institutes, healthcare providers and not-for-profit organisations can download the details required to make the device free of charge. 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.

Then last weekend we became aware that schools with 3D printers and laser cutting machines were sharing instructions and lists of materials for producing protective visors for NHS workers. The principal materials are clear sheets of acetate and polypropylene which can be bent and cut to fit the design. These are products that we stock and again we were more than happy to help. So far we have donated 125 A2 sheets of acetate to the D&T department at Merchant Taylors School in Middlesex, and 8 sheets of clear 0.9mm thick polypropylene to Ashton on Mersey school. It is hoped that these will be approved for use in NHS hospitals as soon as possible.

We will continue to prioritise any such requests. We want to help anyone working on projects in the fight against Covid-19, or to protect those caring for patients with the virus. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we can help.

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Comments (3)

John Melvin

It seems all strainge now I used to be a Chief Tech in an Electronics & Medical Engineering Dept at a major hospital in Newcastle with 30 years service. ( well retired now) Our department serviced and repaired all the ventilators in service. But they were all bells buzzers and whistles. But I think maybe CPAP maybe comming into its own now. Good luck to all you NHS Army. Keep you heads down and your masks up Johnny M


Every supermarket now requires customers to respect social distancing. This entails an employee supervising the queue at the entrance. To mitigate risk, wouldn't it be possible to use a red/green traffic light system similar to the type of beacons one might see on industrial equipment?

Terry Jacobs

Well done RAPID and thanks for assisting at this time KEEP SAFE & WELL PLEASE - THE COUNTRY NEEDS YOU