If you follow news (and who does not?) about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that has swept the planet, you will read about the urgent need by hospitals in every country for medical equipment. The number of cases has been growing very, very fast – in some countries, it doubles every 3 days. Thousands of patients now require intensive care as their condition has become worse. No country was prepared for a crisis of such a scale and so the equipment and facilities were not more than what was thought to be sufficient for the population.
Ventilators are one of the items that are crucial as the patients suffering from COVID-19 have breathing difficulties. The virus attacks their lungs and they need assisted air intake otherwise they will not have enough air for their body. Ventilators can provide such assistance and companies around the world with the capability have been racing to develop and then make ventilators.
SEAT uses its engineering expertise
SEAT, the Spanish carmaker, is one of the companies that has developed automated ventilators with its expertise. Its engineers developed a total of 13 different prototypes were tested before the final design was agreed upon. The team is now testing the ventilators in collaboration with the local healthcare authority to get approval for mass production.
The ventilators – made up of 80 electronic and mechanical components – utilize adapted windscreen wiper motors, gearbox shafts and printed gears. Each ventilator will undergo a thorough quality control check with ultraviolet light sterilization before being shipped out.
The facility where the ventilators will be made produces the new Leon model. 150 employees from different areas will work on modified workstations. “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 team.
Lamborghini makes masks and face shields
Meanwhile, Lamborghini has converted its super sportscar production plant to produce surgical masks and protective plexiglass shields. The masks will be donated to a hospital in Bologna, Italy for the use of healthcare personnel.
Work is carried out by personnel of the saddlery that produce the interiors and specialty customization for Lamborghini cars, producing 1,000 masks a day. The medical shields will be produced as a rate of 200 units a day, using 3D printers within the carbonfibre production plant and the R&D department.
“During this emergency, we feel the need to make a concrete contribution. The S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital is an institution with which we have had a collaborative relationship for years, through both professional consultancy in promoting programs to protect our workers’ health, and in research projects. We will win this battle together by working in union, supporting those who are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic every day,” said Stefano Domenicali, Chairman & CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.