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Fast Group works with FCA and Siare Engineering in the production of ventilators

17/04/2020

The Scandiano-based company is part of the team that enabled ventilator production to be increased by 150% in response to the Covid-19 emergency.

Siare Engineering, a company that has been producing electromedical equipment for over 45 years and the only Italian manufacturer of ventilators, received an urgent request from Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak to increase monthly production of ventilators by 150% in the space of a few weeks (from 180 to 500 units per month). This was an enormous challenge due to the limited time available and the need to maintain the highest levels of technology and quality and meant that extra resources were urgently needed in terms of both specialist personnel (the Italian army immediately provided expert technicians and engineers) and new production lines and equipment.

The FCA group and Ferrari of Maranello converted their manufacturing operations and began producing ventilator components. FCA in turn asked the FAST Group of Scandiano for help in developing MES Software for production optimisation and traceability in record time.

The FAST Group, which has been building automation and process control systems for industry for over 35 years, took up the challenge and put its top engineers to work on the project. In close collaboration with FCA, in just a few days they designed the software, communication protocols, HMI interfaces, product traceability solutions and everything else needed to achieve the goal.

The biggest challenge was the need to reduce the production time of the ventilators by at least 30-35% for each line. FAST’s job was to design software that would be capable of optimising and reducing these times to achieve a rapid and streamlined process.

In practice, the software uses a virtual dashboard to guide the operator step-by-step through the testing process. An automatic software-controlled sequence checks the valves and reads their oxygen flow rate values to ensure they remain within predefined limits. If abnormal values are detected, the software alerts the operator. The software integrates other important functions such as process data tracking, but most importantly it has considerably reduced production timeframes by automating the testing process.

The goal was achieved and the software put into service within a few days. Under the supervision of the FAST software, FCA began producing valves for Siare ventilators on 6 April. Given the difficulty and responsibility of the challenge, FAST group is extremely proud of its team and the expertise it has put at the service of the community, bringing a breath of oxygen and hope to people who are fighting for their lives.

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