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How automotive manufacturers are helping combat the Coronavirus crisis

Team OD  | Published: March 28, 2020, 09:28 PM IST

Never before has the world faced such a shortage of medical devices like ventilators, hospital beds, protective suits, disinfectants etc. The regular manufacturers of these devices are simply unable to cope with the unprecedented demand. At a time of this grave crisis, several auto manufactures, and even Formula One Teams, have come forward to help and are using their immense engineering strengths and development skills along with their prototyping and manufacturing abilities, to come up with medical devices that can be reverse engineered or made quickly with some new and simple designs.

OVERDRIVE fully supports this move by auto manufactures and we will be updating this article with the various initiatives taken by them. We also urge our government and authorities to launch a series of national contests for our engineers, fabricators, business people, etc, to come up with innovative ideas and designs. Let's not forget India is the mother of "jugaad" and if our people apply their minds, we can surely come up with an Indian solution that is - sasta (affordable), asardaar (effective) and tikaoo (durable). And we have millions of small fabrication shops spread all over our country, who will be able to quickly churn out required parts and products - all they need is a design shared on Whatsapp and other social media. And in case you have an idea that you think will help - please share it with us.

Anand Mahindra, chairman Mahindra Group, took to twitter to announce that the company is working with existing companies to help ramp up production of these ventilators, while it's also close to putting into production an automated respiratory bag, said to be up to ten times less expensive than what's available in hospital ICUs at the moment. Apart from which, low-cost face masks for health workers are also being produced, with the simple design having been sourced from Ford, helping out with relief efforts in America.

Ford has readied plans to reappropriate some of its workforce at key plants in the US towards production of a respirator built around the seat ventilation fans from its F150 line of pickup trucks, while the use of automotive batteries in such kinds of equipment is opening up new avenues of portability in vital hospital equipment.

The Tata Group of companies has pledged Rs 500 crore towards the coronavirus relief fund, which will be utilised towards providing essential equipment to doctors and healthcare workers, acquiring testing kits, and setting up treatment facilities.

Hyundai Motors India Foundation, the CSR vertical of Hyundai, has procured 25,000 test kits from South Korea, which are claimed to provide very high levels of accuracy in their results. The testing kits will be distributed in accordance with the government's guidelines.

The TVS Group (funded by Srinivasan Services Trust, the company's CSR arm) has announced a Rs 30 crore relief package for helping fight coronavirus, along with supplying tractors and personnel to help the municipal corporations of Hosur, Krishnagiri and Mysuru. The TVS Motor Company's canteen kitchens are being used to help feed police personnel, healthcare and other essential services workers in these areas as well.

Maruti Suzuki has entered into an agreement with a medical equipment manufacturer, AgVa Healthcare, to produce up to 10,000 ventilators a month to help keep up the supply, apart from helping arrange finances for the same.

MG Motor India announced a Rs 2 crore contribution to government hospitals and healthcare institutions in Gurugram and Halol, including essential equipment like gloves, masks, medicines, hospital beds and more.

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