FRANKFURT, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Robotics, assembly and manufacturing experts are currently converting industrial production lines in record time to help cope with the corona pandemic. New ideas are being swiftly implemented to reduce bottlenecks in the supply of protective face masks and to bring test procedures to robot speed. Wherever possible, the robotics and automation specialists are working to support people with smart machine power.
"The flexibility and creativity of the companies has overwhelmed us," says Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association. "Initiatives and new ideas are coming from all sides to use automation technology to overcome the corona crisis. The companies are working at breathtaking speed. A can-do spirit is in the air.”
Automotive assembly goes into respiratory protection
Machine manufacturer PIA Automation from Amberg near Nuremberg, for example, normally manufactures fully automated production systems for the automotive and consumer goods industries, but also counts medical technology companies among its customers. Within a few weeks after the outbreak of the crisis, PIA initially revamped two existing production lines at its site in China for fully automated production of up to 140,000 protective masks per day. With the know-how from this pilot project, the company is now working on numerous follow-up orders and has also started manufacturing new assembly lines in Germany to produce face masks. The first delivery is scheduled in the coming weeks. This will enable more than 1 million respiratory face masks to be produced per day.
The project is not a one-off: Mechanical engineering company Ruhlamat from Marksuhl in Thuringia has also put its foot down and rapidly developed a production line for disposable surgical masks. The filter material for respiratory protection can be processed flexibly depending on the required safety levels.
The machine builders at Ruhlamat and PIA Automation are thus using their many years of experience in high-speed assembly automation to ramp up the required production of respiratory protection masks to the required volume.
Drive-through for corona mass testing
Unlike medical staff, robots are immune to the virus. Therefore, Bavarian automation provider Boka Automatisierung came up with the idea of a fully automated system reminiscent of the customer experience in a drive-through restaurant which can be used by any driver for a corona test. Using a tablet, the driver identifies through the side window of the car and a robotic arm hands over the test tube. A video tutorial guides the sample collection. The test tube is then automatically returned. Each test participant is then informed by phone of the result of a possible coronavirus infection.
The full text version of the press release and more examples of how robotics and automation are helping us to cope with the coronavirus pandemic (and press photos) can be found HERE.
VDMA R+A at: http://rua.vdma.org