Increase testing capacity through Automation intelligence to tweak production of FF masks

SEAC is one of the main Italian manufacturing company of water-sports equipment, relying on a flexible supply chain and proudly delivering Made in Italy technical products. SEAC constantly strives for improvement through its staff of professionals, engineers and designers, which in the Italian Headquarters design, improve and perfect the smallest of details with the help of cutting-edge technological tools. Since the COVID emergency took Europe by storm, SEAC committed to leveraging their manufacturing facilities to deliver vital medical equipment. It was something new for SEAC, and it's been the beginning of the exploration of new rules, new definitions, new standards, new requirements, etc. Unfortunately, when the (FF) mask project started, there was no cooperation, synchronization, and sharing opportunities between factories, even if the goal was the same. Nevertheless, SEAC believed so much in its project to make a FF masks able to help medical personnel in their fight against pandemic, that during summer 2020 they developed a new and final version of filter connector, in order to be able to install a filter in place of the snorkel, as shown in the figure. Using this filter, the user can always breath fresh and pure air.

A new tech specs file was written, and a lot of tests were made in SEAC laboratories, in order to reach the goal to get the medical validation. A big effort was put into this project, and all people involved were so happy to be part of this innovative event. In this context, the EUR3KA project begun, with the purpose of developing a trusted and unique capability to plug and collectively respond to a sudden demand increased in a coordinated and effective manner at unprecedented scale. Within the Eur3ka project, SEAC provides one of the project manufacturing settings to demonstrate a flexible 48-hour industrial response capability at scale, to cope with sudden spikes in demand ventilator masks for requalification or release of production lines. It is in this framework that SEAC started cooperating with STAM. STAM is an engineering firm specialized in the high-tech sector. Within the EUR3KA project STAM leverages its expertise in Automation and System integration to deliver repurposing solutions for the manufacturing of vital medical equipment. In particular, STAM builds upon its previous expertise in the fields of industrial automation, Zero Defects Manufacturing and Adaptive Process Control to support quality requirements definition, solutions design for repurposing and ramp up and automation solution adaptation and system integration.

STAM S.r.l., among other activities, works as system integrator to develop the connection between SEAC factory and EUR3KA central level. Together the two companies work on how to rapidly customize the design parameters for the future demand of FF mask.

As of now, SEAC put at disposal its FF masks prototypes and testing facilities in their “as-is” set-up and STAM is working on the output data format and protocols from the SEAC testing machines (CO2 residual and breathing effort). This will be helpful to rapidly customize the design parameters for the future demand peaks for FF masks (e.g., different sizes, etc.)

This will help to create an historical and shared database of testing activities, re-usable and interoperable by other partners and regulation authorities, addressing the problem of regulation lack and contributing to standardization in this field. The two partners have already organized two public “deep dives”, hosted by the DFA, showcasing their progress. More will be shared toward the end of the project.