To help protect people from the COVID-19 virus while they keep up a minimum of essential daily tasks, Somtech Technologies SL in Valencia, Spain have changed production of their visors from 3D printing to injection molding. To be able to start production immediately after setting up the injection molding equipment, Somtech needed components for the robotic gripper automatically unloading the machine overnight. The only company able to match their urgent request with the right parts was Piab. The fast delivery allows Somtech to produce 56,000 visors a week with immediate effect.
With the continuing speed of spreading COVID-19 infections, technology companies are in a race to come up with innovative solutions that can be produced at least at an evenly quick rate. One of the companies in COVID-19 battled Spain — Somtech Technologies — have therefore changed their product focus from automotive, rail and packaging industries to producing visors. To keep up with requirements, production technology was shifted from 3D-printing to injection molding to meet the ever increasing demand of the newly developed visors. Normally used in motorcycle helmets, visors now shield people from the virus when they need to go to the supermarket, pharmacies or banks to stock up on food, medication and household consumables.
This change to an injection molding process was only possible by installing an automated removal system with a suitable gripper to be attached to the robot.
“When we approached all possible manufacturers of gripping components over the weekend to obtain components at the beginning of the following week, the Piab experts immediately sprang into action, even on a Sunday night,” said Mariano Sebastiá Ramirez, Chief Operating Officer of Somtech Technologies. “This allowed us to define the necessary parts and have the order ready by Monday morning. Within 48 hours, the Piab components reached our factory allowing us to immediately ramp up the process and start high volume production of the visors.”
“We truly appreciate the trust from Somtech Technologies and are prepared to support them in all their requirements to help us fight COVID-19 and thereafter in hopefully coming soon normal times,” said Sergio Luzuriaga, responsible Area Sales Manager at Piab in Spain.
With the acquisitions of SAS Automation and FEBA Automation in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Piab offers more than 1,500 components. The special modular system allows the simple combination of different parts ranging from low-maintenance and durable high-end gripper systems for precise transfers and processes as well as customized robot hands and pneumatic cutting tongs to complete cutting systems. In addition, the company’s components are equipped with vacuum-based automation solutions for gripping and moving a wide variety of products and serve customers in the automotive and food industries as well as in metalworking and plastic injection molding.
Chip mini pump helps with bronchial secretion aspirators
Maintaining a functioning breathing capability is of utmost importance. In addition to respiratory machines, secretion aspirators are therefore needed in large numbers to stabilize the lung function of the ill. A large medical technology manufacturer has therefore increased its production of bronchial secretion aspirators tremendously. Piab has followed suit and can thus deliver its Chip ejector in large quantities at short notice.
These bronchial secretion aspirators are equipped with Piab’s mini pump Chip. This very small two-stage ejector has a suction power of up to 1.61 cubic feet per minute at an operating pressure of 58 psi. This allows large amounts of secretions, blood and other fluids to be sucked out which impair lung function.
The Chip Ejector X10L is a unique mini pump specially designed for medical vacuum technology. It is subjected to 100% inspection. Each ejector is tested in the laboratory, cleaned and individually packed in multiuse trays, free of grease and oil.
“Our Chip ejector X10L has proven itself for years as a vacuum generator in bronchial secretion aspirators,” said Bernd Gries, responsible for product development at Piab. “This mini pump was chosen because it can be adjusted very precisely and delivers continuously reproducible results. This means at certain fixed points for regulation, where the feed pressure determines the vacuum level to be reached, these must always be met. So if you switch back and forth between different feed pressure settings, the exact same vacuum level must always be achieved. It is essential for the trouble-free operation of a bronchial secretion aspirators in everyday clinical practice that it is easy to use and that it works reliably and reproducibly. Since the compressed air is generated with pure oxygen, the fat and oil-free delivery is particularly important.”
The Chip ejector X10L reaches a maximum vacuum of -93 kPa and is particularly finely controllable due to its so-called “butterfly valves,” which regulate the air flow between the two stages of the ejector.
Filed Under: Hack the crisis: Engineering through COVID-19