SEAT starts production of ventilator based on windscreen wiper motor

SEAT starts production of ventilator based on windscreen wiper motor

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Car maker SEAT has started production in Spain of a non-invasive ventilator based around an adapted windscreen wiper motor.

The OxyGEN ventilator is a collaboration with design house, Bosch and a range of other organisations, including hospitals, over the last two weeks. This is similar to ventilator designs from the University of Oxford in the UK, the University of Marburg in Germany and the open source ventilator from MIT.  

A key point is that the OxyGEN device has been authorized by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Healthcare Products. The company aims to produce 300 units a day at the production line at the Martorell factory in Spain that previously made the Leon car.

Each device has more than 80 electronic and mechanical components and passes a thorough quality control with ultraviolet light sterilisation.

“Teamwork and collaboration is now more important than ever so that together we can try to meet the demand from health centres,” said Dr Christian Vollmer, SEAT Vice-president for Production and Logistics At SEAT who is leading the project. “We have an advanced mass production system and in a situation like the present one it is our responsibility to make it available to Spanish society.”

ECMO ventilator

At the other end of the scale, a German factory has brought forward production of medical equipment for the most critical Covid-19 patients.

Patients with severe pneumonia or lung failure caused by the coronavirus can be treated with Novalung system developed by Fresenius Medical Care in Bad Homburg. This is an ‘extracorporeal membrane oxygenation’ (ECMO) system developed and bult in Germany that replaces lung function by pumping and oxygenating the patient’s blood and removing carbon dioxide.

Novalung has been CE certified and received FDA approval in the US last month, and the company says it has significantly expanded Novalung production but still cannot meet the large increase in demand.

“We have expanded production of the consoles by roughly 50 percent. They are manufactured in Germany,” said a spokesperson for Fresenius.

However operating the Novalung requires intensive training for both doctors and nurses, which is made especially difficult current right now by the already heavy demands on these professionals’ time.

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