Industry

Automotive

Date

Insights

ECA - We are now producing 4,500 gowns per week

In business for more than 70 years, ECA is a family-run firm specialized in aftermarket vehicle upholstery and car mat manufacturing.

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With approximately 140 employees and more than 60 years of experience, ECA monitors and controls the production process from the development, over the confection to the finishing of the car interior.

How did you manage to get organized?

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis it was obvious that the automotive industry would be very badly affected. We saw that, one by one, all our customers were closing down. On the other hand, we also saw that the need for medical equipment and protective material for doctors and nurses had become critical and that the demand was far bigger than the possible supply.

We were convinced that, with some creativity and the motivation to change our processes, we could help solve the issue of the lack of protective materials. We contacted  the ‘Taskforce Covid-19’ and explained what our plans were. The same day, the company Van Heurck, which is active in the world of protective clothes, phoned us. They had the orders but, due to the lockdown, they could not produce in their facilities in Tunisia.

What was the main challenge you faced?

ECA knows everything about production and automation but nothing about certifications for these masks. Van Heurck knows how to handle this, so we made an agreement. ECA will invest and produce; Van Heurck will take care of everything regarding certifications, sales, etc..

The biggest challenge  was to find the correct materials and set up four completely new, fully automated production lines in a very short time.  We will be able to produce 4,000,000 masks per week with a leadtime of seven weeks.  Of course, this requires the goodwill and flexibility of many people but it is for a good cause.

How long did it take you to become operational?

We began by producing medical gowns. In the first week, we produced 1,000. We saw that our stitching machines were not able to make the gowns efficiently, so we immediately decided to buy 27 new stitching machines. As a result, we are now producing 4,500 gowns per week. After this, we decided to make masks.

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