Interview with David García, head of Maintenance at SEAT Martorell
David García, head of Maintenance at SEAT Martorell
At the height of the health crisis caused by COVID-19, a small team of 15 SEAT employees began to explore what materials and parts they could use to make emergency ventilators. Within a few days, 150 people from all areas of the company were producing emergency respirators for dozens of hospitals across Spain. David García, head of Maintenance at SEAT Martorell, who was involved in the project from the beginning, tells us about his experience.
How did the idea of making ventilators at SEAT come about?
SEAT Vice-president for Production and Logistics Christian Vollmer decided that we had to take advantage of SEAT's capacity and our experience to help in some way in this great health crisis. Seeing that hospitals were in great need of respirators, we joined the Protofy project, the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital and the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona. Our mission was to manufacture the prototype of the automated ventilator.
What made you get involved in the project?
I'm not a doctor or a nurse, I'm an engineer. I could only help by making equipment for the people who save lives, and that's what we did. We all wanted to do our bit to help ease the effects of COVID-19. We were apprehensive at first because it was such a big challenge. We knew we could do it, but we were afraid we wouldn't be fast enough. The team went out of its way to come up with resourceful solutions such as using the windscreen wiper motor, which guaranteed 2,000 hours of respirator operation. They also adapted the assembly line for the subframe of the new SEAT Leon in just one week to manufacture them.
What's your personal takeaway?
I'm proud to have participated in this project, I'll never forget it. It's been an emotional merry-go-round. The night the first two trucks loaded with ventilators left, I felt happiness and joy, but also an enormous responsibility. But I don't feel like a hero; the real heroes are in the hospitals, we just did what we do best.
What conclusions can you draw from this enormous project?
We haven't had time yet to really process everything we've done, but we've come to realise that we have an extraordinarily talented team. The way we worked has been impressive. If we can match what we've done over the past few weeks, we can handle any other SEAT project that comes our way.
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