Spain has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 virus. Now SEAT, the Spanish subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, has adapted an auto assembly line to manufacture ventilators.
Since the emergence of the pandemic, SEAT has launched several initiatives to produce material and devices in high demand by hospitals, including ventilators. A team of engineers designed some 13 prototypes before settling on a definitive model. The result is the OxyGEN, designed in collaboration with Protofy, a Barcelona-based provider of fast prototyping solutions.
The company’s plant in Martorell, Spain, is now producing automated ventilators, using gears printed at SEAT, gearbox shafts and a motor adapted from a windshield wiper. 150 employees from different areas have shifted from their usual workstations to assemble the ventilators on a production line that used to build parts for the SEAT Leon.
Each ventilator has more than 80 electronic and mechanical components, and undergoes a thorough quality control with ultraviolet light sterilization.
“Taking an assembly line that manufactures subframes, a car part, and adapting it to make ventilators has been a lengthy, difficult job involving many areas of the company, and we managed to do it in the record time of one week,” said Sergio Arreciado of SEAT Process Engineering.