Making Diagnostic Test Kit Assembly Systems for COVID-19 On a Deadline
WESTBROOK (WGME) -- Two southern Maine manufacturing companies are working together to fight the coronavirus.
Inside Lanco Integrated in Westbrook, they’ve been working around the clock to put the finishing touches on a machine that will be able to produce 1 million coronavirus testing kits per week for a company in Maryland.
“It’s really been quite extraordinary how quickly it’s come up and it’s running,” Lanco Integrated Project Management Supervisor Jacob Rollins said.
It’s a project like no other, making rapid testing kits for COVID-19 on a tight deadline.
“We had to basically pull out all the stops to figure out the best way possible, the quickest, most efficient way possible to make this happen,” Rollins said.
Two months ago, a German company asked Lanco to make a COVID-19 testing machine in eight weeks, for a project this size it would typically take them nearly six months.
“It was a very, very painstaking process,” Rollins said.
“In this case, we really had to jump this project to the front of the line in order to make the delivery,” Lanco Integrated President and CEO Edward Karabec said.
They were able to make their deadline by partnering with ODAT Machine in Gorham to make the parts.
“We’re all thrilled, we’re ecstatic to be a part of this effort,” ODAT Machine Operations Vice President Andy Pratt said.
Nearly half the staff at ODAT Machine in Gorham worked overtime to make more than 100 parts in three weeks.
“That was the only way that we were able to proceed the way that we did and get these parts out as fast as we did,” Pratt said.
The machine makes small vials with multiple layers of membrane material that filters out proteins and enzymes to tell if a person has tested negative or positive for the virus.
“This is probably the most important set of jobs I’ve ever seen come through our floor,” Pratt said.
Both companies say keeping the jobs local was one of the biggest rewards.
“To build product for Maine companies and to keep machines local that can have an impact on saving lives and hopefully preventing the spread of this disease is something pretty special,” Lanco Integrated Global Sales and Marketing VP Matthew Bresnahan said.
Right now, Lanco Integrated is finishing up a validation period before they send the machine to Maryland, where it will be installed next month.