Elon Musk of Tesla Offers COVID-19 Help - Masks Promised - PAPRs & Ventilators Next?
Elon Musk has offered to help out in the fight against COVID-19. Musk is the head of multiple companies including Tesla, Inc. Spacex and The Boring Company that have a need for personal protective equipment (PPE) in manufacturing operations. The protective equipment includes N95 surgical masks which help to protect a healthcare worker from exposure. That exposure could be environmental, like dust particles, or biological in nature like airborne droplets containing a virus. These are the disposable masks that are fitted to the face which can help to reduce the transmission of the virus. A recent Twitter exchange between Musk and another Twitter user is one example of Musk confirming that he and his companies can help.
The exchange also refers to PAPRs. These are powered and supplied air respiratory protection devices that encase a worker's head and supply purified air. Must says that he is "...getting PAPRs."
In addition to the help with protective equipment, Tesla is one of the automotive manufacturers that is planning to help out with critically important medical equipment. General Motors and other companies have volunteered their services in making medical equipment such as ventilators. A ventilator is a machine that helps a patient's lungs work. They are also sometimes referred to as respirators. Elon Musk says that he has met with Medtronics to see how his companies' resources can help.
Medtronic tweeted, "Addressing #COVID19 is a group effort. We are grateful for the discussion with
@ElonMusk and @Tesla as we work across industries to solve problems and get patients and hospitals the tools they need to continue saving lives. We're all in this together." To which Elon Musk replied, "Just had a long engineering discussion with Medtronic about state-of-the-art ventilators. Very impressive team!"
Clean Technica is reporting that Musk told its CEO, "We have 250k N95 masks. Aiming to start distributing those to hospitals tomorrow night. Should have over 1000 ventilators by next week.” How a company without tooling could deliver 1,000 of any type of machine within a week is hard for this writer to comprehend (I hold a degree in mechanical engineering).
To further my knowledge of the subject, I recently spoke off the record with an employee of a ventilator company I have known for many decades. I asked how long it takes for a ventilator order to be filled under normal circumstances. The answer was "About 8 weeks." However, the employee also noted, "The orders coming in today will be delivered by the end of summer." This is because the factory is running at full capacity had cannot keep pace with demand. Of course, an 8-week lead time is not the actual manufacturing time. That is much less. Could Tesla create a thousand ventilators in one week with no prior experience doing so? We won't have to wait long to find out.
President Trump also commented on Tesla recently in a tweet. He posted, "Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?"
Hopefully, in the coming week Tesla will rise to the challenge. Watch Torque News for more updates on this story as it unfolds.
The author is not a doctor and this story is not intended to offer any medical advice. John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin.