Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is investing $140 million to expand its existing laboratory plastics production to support global demand for COVID-19 testing and the development of therapies and vaccines.
"We have the capacity to expand into adjacent areas in the future," Dae Hong, vice president and general manager of laboratory plastics essentials at Thermo Fisher Scientific told Plastics News in an emailed statement.
The investment includes "a significant number" of machines and tools for molding, assembly, printing and packaging, Hong said.
Initial projects for the expansion began in April, he said, and continued through the second quarter of this year. Some of the new lines are currently up and running, making products like pipette tips, transfer pipettes and storage tubes.
"There will be a staggered operationalization of the production lines on a regular basis from now until into 2021," Hong said.
Thermo Fisher also opened a new $40 million facility in Lenexa, Kan., for assembly of viral transport media (VTM) production for COVID-19 testing in August.
The expansion is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs across its manufacturing sites, a Sept. 15 news release said, including facilities in Rochester, N.Y.; Petaluma, Calif.; Monterrey and Tijuana, Mexico; and Joensuu, Finland.
Thermo Fisher is also "increasing automation capabilities and optimizing warehouse and sterilization capacity to improve supply chain agility," it said.
"Early in the pandemic, we quickly joined forces with governments, public health agencies and industry to increase capacity across our laboratory plastics production facilities and address the growing COVID-19 threat," Fred Lowery, senior vice president and president of Life Sciences Solutions and Laboratory Products, said in the release.