For the past few days, the U.S. and Italy have been in the news due to the high number of infected with COVID-19, not to mention the number of fatalities both countries have incurred. But another country that was hit hard by SARS-CoV-2 is Spain.
Currently, the country has recorded 104,118 cases, along with 9,387 deaths. The good news, however, is the country has also posted 22,647 recoveries. But with over 72,000 active cases still affecting the country, Spain's ordeal with the coronavirus is far from over.
As a way to help critically-ill patients recover, Spanish automaker SEAT has stepped in to help the overwhelmed healthcare system in the country. Recently, the Spanish automaker announced that the Martorell factory, which produced over 500,000 cars in 2019, has been transformed to manufacture automated ventilators for local healthcare authorities.
This was made possible after a team of SEAT engineers designed a total of 13 different prototypes before deciding on a final design. Designed in collaboration with an electronics/IT specialist, the ventilator is made up of 3D printed gears and gearbox shafts from the El Prat production facility. In addition, it runs on a motor from their windshield wipers. 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, a member of SEAT's Process Engineering.
The new ventilators will be assembled at the company's Martorell factory and will bring together 150 employees to build the ventilators. For now, the team is now testing the ventilators in collaboration with healthcare authorities to get approval for mass production to support the fight against the coronavirus.