In its 70-year history, SEAT has been a benchmark in applying the latest technology to its vehicles, but also in logistics, sustainability and the well-being of its nearly 15,000 employees. As a tribute to the company's seven decades, we take a look back at the seven initiatives pioneered by SEAT:
Four doors. At SEAT there is a long tradition of making four-door cars even when every other car only had two. Initially two-door cars, such as the 850 and 127, were also produced as four-door cars, and the company was the first to implement this characteristic in such small cars. There was even a version of the SEAT 600 with four doors, called 800.
100% electric touring race car. SEAT's sporty CUPRA brand introduced the world's first 100% electric race car, the CUPRA e-Racer, in 2018. Its main battery, with more than 6,000 internal batteries, is equivalent to 9,000 mobile phones connected at the same time. The model, which won first prize in the 'Concept Transport' category of the German Design Awards in 2019, went on to pave the way for the electrification of the racing car championships with the birth of the E-TCR in 2020.
The largest solar park. The 53,000 photovoltaic panels installed on the roofs of the workshops at the Martorell plant make SEAT's solar park the largest in the European automotive industry. With an area equivalent to 40 football fields, it generates 17 million kWh annually and reduces CO2 emissions by around 4,000 tonnes a year in a clear commitment to renewable energies.
Autonomous robots. SEAT is the first European industrial manufacturer to have automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in outdoor areas. Eight robots automate the transport of parts outside the factories, in addition to the 200 already in use inside the plants. The AGVs, with SLAM navigation, circulate without the need for magnetic tape or wire guidance, have a 4G connection and charge their electric batteries by induction. This enables each convoy to transport up to 10 tonnes, cover 240 km a day and reduce 1.5 tonnes of CO2 by eliminating truck traffic between workshops. According to SEAT Vice-president for Production and Logistics Dr. Christian Vollmer, “this is one more example of our commitment to becoming a benchmark of Industry 4.0.”
Drones. A pilot project by SEAT and Grupo Sesé last year involves using drones to send components from the logistics centre to the assembly workshop in just 15 minutes. This is a logistical revolution that could be realised by reducing delivery times by up to 80%. The project is part of the brand's smart factory strategy, which is focused on applying disruptive technologies to optimise production processes and offer more efficient solutions to customers.
Employee health care. SEAT is the first company in the sector to receive the AENOR Healthy Company certificate in Spain, for its commitment to the well-being and health of its workers. The CARS Healthcare and Rehabilitation Centre in Martorell is entirely dedicated to the company's employees and offers pioneering services in preventive and healthcare occupational medicine: orthopaedics, gynaecology, mental health, imaging, rehabilitation, fitness... and it even has a biomechanics laboratory to adapt employees' work to better conditions. According Dr. Patricia Such, who is responsible for Occupational Health and Safety at SEAT, “CARS figures show that this groundbreaking centre has become a true benchmark of corporate medical services.”
Ventilators on the Leon assembly line. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, SEAT adapted the assembly line of the new Leon to manufacture emergency ventilators to supply hospitals. With the company's commitment and more than 150 employees who volunteered to work in production, the OxyGEN prototype designed by the Protofy startup and the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital and the Barcelona Hospital Clínic was industrialised. SEAT engineers adapted the design to the parts available in the factory, such as the motor of the Leon windscreen wiper, which was used to pump air. As a result, quality ventilators were made in record time and delivered to several Spanish hospitals.
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