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Ocala company manufacturing 60,000 COVID rapid tests a week

With the addition of their new facility, they hope to produce up to a million a week
Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - First it was face-masks to keep the virus out, now its testing kits to track it. One Ocala manufacturing company is doing their part to combat the pandemic by manufacturing COVID testing kits by the thousands.

Gary Mishkin started Artemis Plastic six years ago. In 2014, he brought the manufacturing and injection molding company to Ocala.

“The city of Ocala and Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership have been great partners since our move,” he said.

“We do approximately 50/50 with industrial and medical devices," Mishkin said. "As far as industrial products … we do a lot of gardening equipment-- planters, soil scoops, etc. A lot of those customers are local customers, which is really nice -- to be able to work with other Ocala companies and other Florida companies.”

Artemis also works with six of the top ten medical device companies in the country. They work closely with some of them, from the very start of the process

“The exciting thing for me, being a biomedical engineer, is getting in early on the development of the project," Mishkin said.

They start by working on the design and then move on to the manufacturing. They even make their own tools to make the products.

“The tools we make right here in the facility, in the back of the house. We validate the process and make whatever modifications are required. From there, we go to whatever additional assembly is required for the device.”

While his 45 person team is used to manufacturing medical devices, Mishkin said they’ve had the new task of providing some of the world’s most valuable products this year-- PPE equipment and COVID-19 rapid tests.

“It’s been interesting with COVID," Mishkin said, “I knew there was going to be opportunity, as a biomedical assembler, and we just had to figure out what that was going to be. We had probably designed three or four projects-- specifically for the COVID pandemic. We made a reusable face mask ... we’re looking into nasal swabs ... and then we recently got in touch with Monarch Global in Melbourne, Florida, to make COVID-19 rapid test strips.

Artemis began producing the COVID-19 rapid body antibody tests back in July. Right now, they’re making up to 60,000 of them a week. With a high demand for the tests around the world, they’ve decided to extend their manufacturing capabilities. They’ll be opening up a new facility, strictly for manufacturing COVID antibody and antigen tests. The new goal, with the addition of the new facility, is to make up to 1 million a week.

Each ‘cleanroom’ for the manufacturing of those tests in the new facility will produce up to 100,000 units per day. They will have room to expand up to 8 cleanrooms in the new facility, if needed. Each room will employ up to 90 people.

“What we’ve done is we designed our own molds to make the top and the bottom [of the strip]. We cut the strips, pouch, label, box and get the whole device ready to be shipped out … and all that’s done here in Ocala.”

Mishkin and his team are doing their part to combat the virus, from start to finish.

“I have a very dedicated and talented team of managers, operators and engineers,” he said. “They are very passionate about their work and making sure we put out a high-quality product. Most of the people in the world didn’t realize [the pandemic] was going to be as significant as it is. I’m very happy that we are able to participate and provide some solutions to this very difficult situation.”

Now, with with just under 30,000 square feet of new space, the possibilities of those solutions are endless.

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