Ferrari Making Parts to Convert Snorkel Masks Into Respirators

A post from Reuters on Thursday indicated that Ferrari has started making valves and fittings, using its 3D printing technology at its Maranello plant. The parts are used as part of a kit to fit underwater snorkel masks, converting them into respirators for patients suffering from COVID-19. Production of the parts is expected to be in the several hundred. They are expected to be used in Italian hospitals for patients suffering respiratory failure, and for protection for healthcare workers. 

Medical workers wearing transformed snorkel masks
Medical workers from Motol hospital wear snorkel masks transformed into high-grade protection by researchers from The Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics in Prague, Czech Republic, March 25, 2020 | FN Motol, Handout via Reuters

Snorkels and donated salaries

Chairman John Elkann said Ferrari would track the equipment and give the workers the ability to use a mobile app to help trace possible exposure to the Coronavirus. Additionally, Elkann also said that he, other top managers, and board members of Ferrari would be taking partial or full pay cuts for the rest of the year. Those funds will go to local authorities to help face the health emergency.

Ferrari shut operations down at its two plants until May 3. Easing of nationwide restrictions in Italy is expected at that time.

Snorkel development

According to Reuters, researchers in Europe have also been converting snorkel masks into respirators to treat patients and for protection for medical workers. A team from the Czech Technical University (CVUT) and volunteers recently worked together to add military-grade filters to snorkel masks. Tests on the modified masks show they “surpass the protection of masks carrying FFP3, considered one of the highest grade filters.”

Work continues across the globe to manufacture needed equipment in the fight against the Coronavirus. Ferrari is joining other automakers that are making room in their production plants to manufacture medical equipment and devices. In recent weeks, Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesFordGeneral Motors, Tesla and Toyota have all been making headway in manufacturing and shipping different equipment, such as masks, face shields, medical gowns, and respirators. 

Airbags being converted to re-usable gowns
Ford is leading efforts to manufacture reusable gowns with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems | Ford

Treading lightly

Italy is the base of operations for Ferrari. The country recently crested the coronavirus infection curve. So, plans for a phased restart the country are currently underway. Likewise, here in the United States, President Donald Trump today announced phased guidelines for states planning on restarting soon. Yet globally, nations are still on edge. The possibility for re-infections or multiple waves or re-infections is on the minds of world governments as they watch to see what happens when the world tries to normalize again. Until such time that nations can step forward confidently, nations are instead treading lightly with watchful eyes to be careful.

Lamborghini workers make face masks
Lamborghini workers make face masks | Lamborghini

As the world tries to move forward, it’s good to know that automakers are amongst the most generous and flexible industries in the world. Ferrari helping to convert snorkels into safe breathing apparatus is genius and a sign of how humanity is coming together and applying their given talents and wisdom gained to provide hope. The willingness of auto manufacturers, such as Ferrari in this case, to pivot their entire business to help the world fight a global pandemic, even as some manufacturers face economic peril to their own bottom lines, is something to be applauded. Coronavirus be damned.