Seat switches factory to making ventilators out of car parts

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 3:01 pm

Spanish car maker Seat has turned one of its factories from a car plant into a ventilator manufacturing facility as part of the fight against coronavirus.

The Martorell factory, near Barcelona, is normally home to production of the Leon hatchback but with car building at a virtual standstill it has been turned over to making prototype ventilators for local healthcare authorities.

The ventilators are made using up to 80 electronic and mechanical components, including adapted car parts such as windscreen wiper motors, gearbox shafts and printed gears.

“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.

A team of Seat engineers designed 13 different prototypes before the final design was agreed upon. They are now testing the ventilators in collaboration with the local healthcare authority to get approval for mass production.

The ventilators were designed in collaboration with Protofy.XYZ and will be assembled at Martorell by 150 employees whose workstations are being specially adapted for the purpose.

Sergio Arreciado, a member of Seat’s process engineering team, said: “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."

Seat isn’t the only car maker to turn its engineering expertise and manufacturing capacity over to the fight against COVID-19. Ford and Group PSA are both working with other companies to develop and build ventilators while GM is producing face masks for medical staff.

Lamborghini has also turned its saddlery into a face mask production site and is 3D printing plexiglass protective screens at its Sant Agata factory.

Jaguar Land Rover is lending more than 160 vehicles to emergency services and the Red Cross around the world as well as donating face masks to hospitals in the UK. Also in the UK, MG is temporarily donating 100 ZS EV cars to NHS agencies to keep staff mobile.

#HealthHeroes

Show your support for the incredible work being done by those working on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis. Join our Facebook group and follow the dedicated Instagram page to read stories of everyday heroism and share your own messages.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this website, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you, and stay safe.