Enabling Ellume to Scale the Production of its Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test in Adelaide, South Australia
ADELAIDE: Ellume, a Brisbane-based digital diagnostic solutions provider, engaged Entech Electronics to provide support to scale the production of its range of COVID-19 rapid antigen test in Australia by providing electronic sets for use in Ellume’s ‘eStick’ test cartridges.
Ellume’s COVID-19 Antigen Test is a high-performance test that can detect active SARS-CoV-2 infections in less than 15 minutes. The easy-to-use solution is also one of the most economical rapid test systems available. As a result, the solution helps remote communities to be able to improve the health standard by monitoring and controlling the spread of the virus.
Headquartered in Devon Park, South Australia, Entech Electronics has over 35 years of experience in contract electronics manufacturing and owns and operates two production facilities in Adelaide and Shenzhen, China. With a wide-ranging product portfolio, including medical devices, Entech Electronics demonstrated both the capabilities and competencies required to meet the quality and efficiency expectations Ellume has for its innovative rapid COVID-19 test.
While the partnership between Ellume and Entech was initially aimed to leverage Entech’s high-speed and automated manufacturing capabilities offshore, both companies later agreed to scale the production locally. The decision was made to support the Australian sovereign capability while ensuring a globally competitive and low production cost.
Ellume’s set target for July 2020 was to produce 1,000,000 units of its eStick test cartridges to ensure a readiness to meet the global demand for rapid antigen tests. As a part of the agreement, Entech utilised its Design for Manufacturing (DFM) expertise and leveraged the knowledge of its internationally distributed team to bring down the assembly time and cost in Australia. In addition, to scale up the production of the electronics sets for Ellume’s eStick, Entech also invested in multiple in-line equipment upgrades at its Adelaide production facility.
The investment in the new equipment upgrades and the implementation of design for automation is enabling Ellume to produce its COVID-19 antigen tests in large volumes. By the start of 2020’s fourth quarter, Ellume was able to meet the set target. Hundreds of thousands of electronic sets for the eSticks have been produced monthly in Adelaide. Entech is also making it possible to bring down the production cost, comparable to any other offshore manufacturer. Moreover, the manufacturer has also confirmed its ability to double the production output for Ellume, demonstrating that low-cost production is possible in Australia through automation.
As an additional benefit from the new capabilities installed at the Adelaide plant, Entech can now carry out mass production for other IoT-based or mission-critical medical devices.