The SEAT Leon line at the Martorell plant starts to produce automated ventilators to collaborate with the healthcare system in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Going from producing cars to ventilators in record time is the result of the intense work of many SEAT employees. The project is still in development phase and the ventilators are waiting the final homologation.
“The motivation of everyone participating in this project is that with our know-how we can mass-produce equipment that will save lives”, explains Nicolás Mora from the Production area of SEAT Martorell.
Ongoing activity. Since the beginning of the situation caused by COVID-19, 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 diligently set about designing several prototypes, 13 in all, until the definitive model was produced.
The key 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 aim was to make ventilators of the highest quality, and the result is the OxyGEN. Designed in collaboration with Protofy.XYZ, they are being assembled at the SEAT facilities.
Transforming the assembly line. 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 a thorough quality control with ultraviolet light sterilisation.
Quality tested. A ventilator is currently undergoing prolonged testing as part of the approval process. Meanwhile, 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.
Joint effort. The result of this 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
University of Barcelona
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exports 81% of its vehicles, and is present in more than 75 countries. In 2019, SEAT sold 574.100 cars, the highest figure in its 70-year history, posted a profit after tax of 346 million euros and a record turnover of more than 11 billion euros.
In 2019, SEAT allocated 1.259 billion euros to accelerate its investment programme, mainly for the development of new electrified models. In addition, and as part of its commitment to decarbonisation, it invested 27 million euros in sustainable initiatives and is working on an ambitious environmental strategy, called Move to Zero, which aims to make Martorell a zero-carbon footprint plant by 2030.
SEAT employs over 15,000 professionals and has three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza, Arona and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca in the Czech Republic, the Tarraco in Germany, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii electric, SEAT’s first 100% electric car, in Slovakia.