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
“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.