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March 31, 2020

SEAT turns windscreen wiper motors into ventilators

VW-Group brand SEAT has revealed that it is making ventilator prototypes at its Martorell plant in Spain and a ventilator is now currently undergoing prolonged testing as part of the approval process.

By Sam Duke

VW-Group brand SEAT has revealed that it is making ventilator prototypes at its Martorell plant in Spain and a ventilator is now currently undergoing prolonged testing as part of the approval process.

The brand says going from producing cars to ventilators in record time is the result of the intense work of many SEAT employees. “The motivation of everyone participating in this project is that with our know-how we can mass-produce equipment that will save lives,” said Nicolás Mora from the production area of SEAT Martorell.

SEAT says that since the beginning of the situation caused by COVID-19 (Spain is one of the worst affected countries in Europe), several initiatives were launched at SEAT to combat the spread of the virus – specifically, to produce material and devices in high demand by hospitals, such as ventilators. A team of engineers set about designing several prototypes, 13 in all, until the definitive model was produced.

The key, SEAT says, lies in the windscreen wiper. The project is taking shape with gears printed at SEAT, gearbox shafts and the adapted motor of a windscreen wiper.

The result is the OxyGEN, designed in collaboration with ‘Protofy.XYZ’, they are being assembled at the SEAT facilities.

Transforming the assembly line

Some 150 employees from different areas have changed their usual workstation to put together the ventilators where parts of the SEAT Leon used to be assembled. “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,” says Sergio Arreciado from the Process Engineering area of SEAT. Each ventilator has more than 80 electronic and mechanical components and undergoes quality control with ultraviolet light sterilisation.

Quality tested

A ventilator is currently undergoing prolonged testing as part of the approval process. Meanwhile, SEAT says the line continues to operate thanks to many employees who have worked tirelessly on this project. “Just knowing that we’ve tried to help save a life makes all this work we’ve done worthwhile,” says Francesc Sabaté of R&D at SEAT.

SEAT says the result of the project has been possible thanks to the ‘solidarity of its employees and the collaboration of many companies and entities that SEAT would like to thank for their involvement, especially the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Healthcare Products’.

Collaborating companies and entities

  • Protofy.XYZ
  • CMCiB
  • University of Barcelona
  • Recam Laser
  • Doga Motors
  • Luz Negra
  • Ficosa
  • Bosch
  • IDNEO
  • Secartys
  • LCOE

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