Every Cycle Counts

Published on Apr 3, 2020


In the fight against the corona virus, it is not just every day that counts. Every additional cycle of a fully automated assembly line for the production of urgently needed protective masks is also crucial for fighting and containing the virus. As a systems Integrator, PIA Automation is making an essential contribution to this cause.

The corona pandemic is leading to an acute shortage of face masks worldwide, which cannot be eliminated manual production alone. PIA Automation's fully automated assembly lines for high-speed production provide the solution to this problem. On one hand, the company benefits from the experience of its two Chinese sites, which built the first production systems for masks shortly after the outbreak of the virus. On the other hand, the PIA Group's Medical Competence Center, located in Amberg, Germany, knows the importance of the uncompromising willingness to perform at the highest level in the health care system in order to achieve maximum patient safety and quality standards.

PIA's expertise and quality are more in demand than ever in times of the Corona crisis, as Thomas Ernst (CSO of PIA Holding) reports: "Since the rapid spread of the virus, PIA has received more than 100 inquiries from all parts of the world. The site in Amberg, Germany has now been entrusted with the production of more than a dozen fully automated assembly lines for the manufacture of face masks". The range of inquiries is enormous and extends from start-ups to renowned industry leaders as well as from the medical technology sector to the automotive industry. Many of these companies are responding to the Bavarian regional governments call to establish a national production for personal protective equipment. One of them is Zettl Automotive, which is now setting up the production of face masks in partnership with PIA. PIA supports Zettl in supplementing manual production with machine production. The goal: the production of about 1 million face masks per day! With this ambitious project both companies show that - in addition to "social distancing" - an "industrial approach" can also contribute to the fight against the virus.

Thomas Ernst (CSO, PIA Holding)

"Since the virus spread, PIA has received over 100 inquiries from all over the world."

While production is being shut down in many places, PIA’s production facilities are not only open but: "Due to the high number of inquiries and the need to provide mask production machines, PIA Amberg has also increased its capacities and is ready to start a 3-shift operation. Of course, all health and safety measures are being adhered to. It is planned that the first assembly lines will leave the facility in a record time of a few weeks," explains Lothar Mehren, Head of the Medical Division in Amberg. Each of these fully automated assembly lines for high-speed production can deliver a quantity of up to 140,000 units (depending on type and material) per day, which is far greater than what is currently produced manually. Further information can be found on PIA's website.

Lothar Mehren (Head Medical Division, PIA Amberg)

"It is planned that the first assembly lines will leave the facility in a few weeks."

In Europe, PIA can thus contribute to meeting the demand for such masks, especially in view of the expansion of mandatory wearing in more and more countries. North America is a current hotspot of the corona pandemic. PIA's local subsidiaries are already prepared for this. Thomas Ernst comments: "We are passing on all technical documentation and our experience to PIA North America so that systems of the same quality can be built there”. At PIA, we have an advantage, as the intercontinental cooperation between our facilities worldwide works excellently - and we are trying to stay one step ahead of the virus". PIA not only provides production processes at the highest level of security, but also offers fast, global solutions for special requirements.