Triple Eight Engineering on the race to diversify
Roland Dane and his team at Triple Eight Engineering have notched up more wins on the Australian Supercar Circuit than any other team.
When COVID-19 struck and the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled in March 2020 – he decided to turn his team's attention to a different kind of heart-pounding machine – ventilators.
When explaining why Roland said: "When you've got a group of really highly motivated and skilled engineers, which an appreciable portion of our team is made up of people like that, then [I] wanted to try and make sure our brains didn't go stale, first and foremost."
"It was very clear early on that one of the issues in a lot of countries was going to be the number of people who are available to operate such machines [ventilators]. Don't forget at that time, we were all seeing some pretty horrific pictures of warehouses, for want of a better word, in Italy, with camp beds, the sort of thing that you've gone to a camping shop and bought with people like lying there with almost no assistance," Roland continues.
In that situation, the team thought what sort of machine would you need? What sort of machine would help?
Roland said: "We came up with the concept of using a system we use in racing – telemetry – which is a way of transmitting data, live data from multiple sources. So on a race car, for instance, there can be 100 different sensors on the car at any one time that are transmitting data back to a central point in a pit lane, in a race circuit.
"Applying that principle to ventilators, you could then have 10, 20, 30, ventilators in a room or in a warehouse that had patients attached to them that then could be monitored from a single position, and warnings etc. come up on that monitoring screen that then would allow the potential to operate with maybe fewer people."
When we asked Roland what advice he might give others looking to pivot during a crisis, he said: "It's a very trendy expression these days to say 'think outside the box', but honestly, think of, very broadly, to begin with about what possibilities that could be in other areas for your business.
"Then if you've identified opportunities, hone in on them. Don't use a shotgun approach to everything. Hone in on what you might be good at, where your skill sets, where your equipment... whatever else, where your assets... whether they're people or whether they're physical assets can be used best, and then concentrate on a small number of potential opportunities."