Automated Production System for Manufacturing
SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Tests

Automation Solution for Point-Of-Care (POC) Testing

Availability of rapid POC testing devices for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is what has saved lives. The faster a COVID-19 case can be confirmed, the sooner the affected person can receive medical care and begin isolation. Corona testing has played a significant part in Germany’s campaign to end the pandemic. Medical experts questioned why this country, one of the most affected by the pandemic, had such a low fatality rate. One explanation could be the widespread availability and use of rapid POC testing devices. This means that Germany had fewer unreported cases than many other countries, where testing was not as readily available. A direct consequence of more thorough testing of the population:  Fewer patients died from the infection because more infected people with few or no symptoms were tested and isolated.

From Program Launch to Production Realization

At the start of the pandemic, the In Vitro Diagnostic [IVD] industry was not prepared to mass produce enough COVID-19 tests to meet demand.  To increase capacity for production of these critical test devices, MA micro automation prioritized development of manufacturing systems configured to produce COVID-19 diagnostic test devices. This effort was prioritized to accommodate custom product designs while achieving rapid deployment of equipment to partner production sites.


Product Characteristics

  • Use of different housing geometries and strips
  • Handling and packaging of loose strips
  • Laser marking of upper housing parts

Process Steps

  • Feeding of lower housing parts; 4 types, 2-fold set-up with pick & place handling system
  • Feeding and cutting of up to 3 different Lateral Flow Strip (LFS)
  • Bad part detection using Automated Optical Inspection (AOI)
  • Assembly of the LFS into the lower housing
  • AOI position detection of strips in the lower housing
  • Feeding of the upper housing; 3 types, 2-fold set-up with pick & place handling system
  • Laser marking of the upper housing (turn table with 2 marking lasers)
  • Press upper housing to end position
  • Test cassette height
  • Label quality check
  • Output OK parts with further transport to packaging
  • Separate NOK output
Reaction strip cutting station Laser marking 3D laser scanner

Technical Specifications

  • Equipment Footprint(L x W x H): 7.5 m x 5.3 m x 2.6 m
  • Cycle time: 0.75 seconds per part
  • Output: approx. 32 million parts per year
  • Set-up time per shift: 1 hour

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