Motorcycle companies should make ventilators

Several motorcycle companies around the world have donated ventilators, protective medical suits, respirators, masks, surgical gloves and alcohol wipes to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s great, but how about going further?

Many motorcycle factories have temporarily closed for cleaning and to amend their assembly lines to allow workers to stay further apart.

How about also retooling to make ventilators which are in short supply? After all, there is no point returning to full production with demand expected to be low for some time.

Motorcycle companies have the engineers to design ventilators and the facilities to produce them.

They know how to work with plastics, metals, carbon fibre, precision valves and electronics. All the components of a ventilator.

Car manufacturers are already offering to build ventilators and the Australian Government has asked Ford to help.

We also know of one Brisbane automotive engineering company that is designing a ventilator that can be 3D printed.

Instead of laying off workers, they have thrown their skills into fighting the virus the best way they know how.

What are ventilators?

Ventilator donate pandemic fight virus coronavirusVentilator machine

A mechanical ventilator is not a surgical mask or a respirator which help protect surgical staff.

It basically helps a patent breathe. 

Medical staff insert a tube into patient’s windpipe and the machine regulates the supply of oxygen and removes carbon dioxide, basically breathing for the patient.

Apparently Australia only has about 2000 of these machines but needs twice as many quickly, according to the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Brendan Murphy.

We are in a lot better situation than many other countries that need many more thousands.

For example, the USA has about 100,000 ventilators, but medical experts warn they may need 750,000.

Confirmed cases

Ventilators donate pandemic fight virus coronavirusSource: Our World In Data (China had 78,598 cases at day 40.)

Motorcycle donations

Here is an incomplete list of some of the donations by various motorcycle companies to the fight against coronavirus:

  • Italian motorcycle manufacturer Benelli has donated two ventilators and 4500 Tyvek suits to the Italian Red Cross;
  • Yamaha America has donated 380 respirators, 49,000 gloves, 325 Tyvek suits and 18,000 alcohol wipes to a hospital in Newnan, Georgia. (Respirators are used to protect medical staff.)
  • Tyre manufacturer Pirelli donated $800,000, 65 ventilators, 5000 protectives suits, and 20,000 protective masks Milan health workers; and
  • KTM Asia donated 10,000 N95 protective masks to Philippine public hospitals.


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