All Hands On Deck To Fight COVID-19 – Volkswagen South Africa
As we approach the gradual reopening of the country after the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s important to acknowledge the men and women who are putting in the effort to protect us from the virus. Brands and companies also have a big part to play and Volkswagen South Africa is a great example of this.
The German manufacturer has redirected its efforts and time to produce medical equipment that is currently falling short of demand in South Africa. At the top of this list is face masks, and after successfully producing a sample batch of soft fabric face masks, Volkswagen SA anticipates to produce and deliver these fabric face masks to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to meet its goal of a few thousand masks.
Volkswagen SA engineers are also working closely with the National Government Task Force to find innovative ways to assist during the pandemic. One of the ways that they are currently progressing with is the production of medical ventilators. The VWSA research and development team is making use of 3D printing technology to produce components for mechanical ventilators that will be produced at the Uitenhage plant in the Eastern Cape. The design of the ventilator is based on an open-source design by Seat in Spain.
“We are working with Dr John Black, who is the lead medical advisor on Covid-19 in Nelson Mandela Bay, Dr Adrian Wentzel, a local anaesthetist, and Quinton Uren of Jendamark Automation” said Joost Kessels, Head of Technical Engineering at VWSA. “Our Legal team is in the process of obtaining the medical release from the relevant authorities as South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications, which we need before we can commence with mass production.”
“We are continuously investigating ways in which VWSA can offer support to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in this time of crisis. We are working together as business under the lead of the Business Chamber in assisting Dr Black and his team with everything we can from engineering to logistics. It is very important for all the key stakeholders in the Metro to collaborate in order to flatten the curve of the infections whilst protecting the lives of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director.
Schaefer added: “VWSA is made up of employees with diverse talents and qualifications. We have made these skills available to the country and the Metro to contribute to the fight against Covid-19.”