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ATS Automation addresses COVID-19 medical device shortage

Automation company harnesses worldwide resources to expedite production of medical equipment.

April 14, 2020   by PLANT STAFF

Expediting production to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  Photo: ATS Automation

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. is harnessing its specialized life sciences capabilities to fast-track the production of medical equipment to address the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.

“We’re enabling customers to manufacture important products such as ventilators and respirators, that are desperately needed to treat patients, protect healthcare workers and contain the coronavirus pandemic,” said Andrew Hider, CEO of the automation systems manufacturer based in Cambridge, Ont.

The company identified projects it’s involved in globally:

Filtering facepiece respirators (FFR). ATS is working with a large automaker in the US to reconfigure its manufacturing facility, and has delivered equipment to enable the wide scale production of FFR masks. Launch of the project to delivery of equipment was completed in 17 days.

Ventilator components. The ATS Life Sciences team is working with O-Two Medical Technologies in Canada to assemble critical ventilator components at ATS facilities. In the US, the company is supplying ventilator production test equipment to two key ventilator manufacturers. The equipment enables the calibration and testing of ventilators before shipment to hospitals and medical facilities.

Automated bio-decontamination system. In Italy, Comecer (an ATS company that designs and manufactures high-technology systems in the fields of aseptic processing and containment for radiopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries) is developing an automated bio-decontamination system for hospitals based on the same technology used in Comecer’s aseptic isolators. This would allow fast decontamination of hospital rooms and equipment, and potentially enable reuse of devices such as N95 masks, which would otherwise be disposable, thereby helping to mitigate shortages.

COVID-19 test kits. In Germany, the ATS team is developing a solution for a manufacturer of COVID-19 test kits to help them ramp up production to meet the unprecedented demand.

Hygiene product filling. At IWK in Germany (an ATS company that manufactures high-speed, high-precision packaging solutions for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and related industries), the team has developed a rapid deployment tube-filling solution suitable for hygiene products including hand sanitizer. The machine will fill up to 70 tubes per minute.

ATS Automation operates 23 manufacturing sites globally, and more than 50 engineering and service sites. Contract manufacturing for medical devices capacity exists in ATS’ facilities in Cambridge, Ont. and Chicago.

Post-crisis, ATS said it can help companies ramp back up again to full production once manufacturing restarts and prepare for future disruptions to supply chains by bringing production back onshore.


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