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(Interview) 15-minute COVID-19 test device to be manufactured by Rosti
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:Ivy Zhang     Date:01.Feb.2021

Quick establishment of a digital communication system offering virtual factory tours online, achievement of 3D printing test mold within 72 hours, completion of 32-cavity mold solution within 5 weeks, and more. In the process of producing COVID-19 testing equipment, Rosti Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (Rosti China) has shown its capability in terms of speed and quality.


Innovation in 3D printing shortens prototype delivery time


Testing is one of the effective ways to prevent the spread of the pandemic. However, many factories in Europe and the US have been facing production disruption, making it difficult to produce testing equipment at the necessary speed and scale.


A global molecular diagnostics company approached Rosti China for the production of injection molded parts for its COVID-19 testing equipment. The equipment can provide laboratory-level test results within 15 minutes.


Patrick Williams, Senior Vice President of Rosti Asia.

Patrick Williams, Senior Vice President of Rosti Asia, told Adsale Plastics Network that their R&D engineers managed to finish a 3D printed test mold within 72 hours and mold prototype parts in design intent material, an invaluable service for the clients engineering team.


In this way, the 32-cavity mold solution was completed within 5 weeks and the project development was done within just a few months. Mass production could then be carried out under ISO13485 requirements. The prototype delivery within 72 hours is much faster than the international standard of 4-week delivery.


“We used our digital innovation laboratory, we sourced correct materials and parts within 72 hours, which allowed our customer to develop their testing, significantly compressing the development cycle,” said Patrick Williams. 


The digital innovation laboratory of Rosti China.

The digital innovation laboratory is one of the Rosti Group’s two innovation centers. The other center is located in Poland and they plan to set up a third in Boston, MA in 2021 to better service potential customers in the US.


Online communication system keeps operation smooth


In order to ensure the on-time delivery of the medical products, Rosti Group has introduced an online communication system for customers and suppliers to ensure every step in the supply chain is traceable and open.

The company also provides online services like virtual factory tours for European and US customers, as well as invites to third-party organizations to audit and monitor the production processes.


Thanks to this set-up, which was a pioneering step for the company, facilities have been operating normally. This can be seen as a flexible business move under “new normal conditions” as a result of the pandemic, commented Patrick Williams. “Our production almost stagnated in the beginning of February (2020), but resumed up to 80% in March, showing how dynamic and agile we were.”


Rosti will be expanding its business in the packaging and medical sectors.

He goes on to say, “The economic turmoil caused by the pandemic has exposed many vulnerabilities in supply chains and raised doubts about globalization. I believe that companies are now looking at regionalization instead. For example, some supply chains in Asia have been relocating to Europe and the US. A similar situation is also happening in Asia. The regionalization of supply chains increases the independence of the production process in a region, which reduces the possibility of being interrupted during a pandemic situation.”


Currently, most of the company’s supply chains are located in China and other Asian regions, and some crucial components are imported from Europe and the US.


“We need to make sure that we look at the risk assessments of the supply chain. Companies everywhere should use this crisis to take a fresh look at their supply chains, take steps to understand their vulnerabilities, and then take actions to improve robustness” he says.


The ultimate goal of building a light-out facility


Since the outbreak of the pandemic, orders for medical products have been surging rapidly, offsetting the negative impact on other business sectors, such as automotive and consumer electronics, of the company.


There are 123 injection molding machines in the Suzhou factory and mostly are from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag.

Up to now, the Suzhou factory covers an area of 25,000 m2 with more than 1,000 employees and 123 injection molding machines. It has become one of the largest production bases of Rosti Group, and the injection molded parts produced there are exported to Europe, the US and other countries.

Patrick Williams expressed his optimism about the development of the medical industry in 2021. Rosti China will increase investments in the medical business by increasing all-electric injection molding machines, medical injection molding production workshops, etc.


As early as 15 years ago, the company had already started planning for high automation. “We are targeting what we call lights-out production ,” Patrick Williams said. “We are not there yet. We have a lot of automation, and we will put more automation in our molding and assembly areas.”


Rosti China is using injection molding machines mostly from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, which are equipped with robotics and automatic quality inspection systems.


From mold production to contract manufacturing


Rosti China was founded in 2001, covering an area of 4000m2. At that time, the company mainly specialized in high-end customized molding. Thanks to the rising orders, the Suzhou factory expanded by 3,700m2 in 2005. In 2007, the company further expanded the Suzhou factory to 13,800m2.


The Suzhou factory was further expanded due to rising orders.

“Our customers have been extending their strategies to include the outsourcing of complete modules, not just plastic components, and this has been the catalyst of Rosti to develop from a high-end molding company to a contract manufacturer,” explained Patrick Williams.


He emphasized that Rosti China will continue implementing the 3R approach –

Our Relationship building, Responsiveness, Reliability and ability to add value at every step keeps us head and shoulders above the competition.


Rosti is a global precision plastic injection moulding company and contract manufacturer with production sites in Sweden, Germany, UK, Poland, Romania, Turkey, China, and Malaysia with over 3,200 dedicated employees working worldwide.



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