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Automation is key in the race to reach Covid-19 testing targets

29 April 2020

Mark Gray, Country Manager UK&I at Universal Robots, discusses how the Government can effectively utilise automation to reach COVID-19 testing goals, and how robots can work together with humans to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The Government plans to use automation to achieve a daily 100k testing target in the fight against Covid-19. Connectivity recently reported on a robotic platform that can process 1,000 COVID-19 samples in 12hrs.

Mark Gray, Universal Robots, comments:

“During these difficult times, the race is on to find a vaccine for Covid-19. Whilst human trials are already underway at Oxford university, accurate and widespread testing remains our best defence against the virus. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to ramp up test production in order to reach the governments 100k daily testing target. Automation is key in achieving this goal. 

“Whilst production facilities are hit by labour shortages and social distancing regulations, effective implementation of collaborative robots (cobots), will help alleviate these issues. There’s a simple but crucial machine tending role for cobots who can place samples into and out of diagnostic machines non-stop, 24/7. This eliminates the over-reliance on human workers, who are often placed on the frontlines in high-risk environments. Cobots can effectively augment human workers, allowing them to take on less physically intensive activities and apply their ingenuity elsewhere, where it will be better placed, such as in strategic decision-making or streamlining operations. Not only this, but cobots can be easily programmed and integrated into a production line with minimal downtime, allowing the government to ramp up productions, and hit its test targets.”

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