Apple taps K2 Kinetics to design equipment to build COVID-19 testing

Springettsbury Township, York County-based K2 Kinetics is working with Apple to design new equipment that will help accelerate the manufacture of COVID-19 test kits for hospitals across the country.

K2 Kinetics, an industrial automation firm that primarily engineers and designs equipment for the food and beverage industry, was contacted by Apple last month to design equipment for COPAN Diagnostics.

Kevin Keller, a former packaging systems engineer at The Hershey Company, started K2 Kinetics in 2011. Keller is standing with a liquid filling system that has yet to be joined with a client’s production line. PHOTO/ IOANNIS PASHAKIS

Apple announced Thursday it would award $10 million to COPAN, a market leader in sample collection kits, to expand its production of kits to more than a million a week by early July. As part of its partnership with COPAN, Apple will support the company’s expansion to a larger facility in southern California, including providing advanced equipment that Apple helped design. K2 Kinetics, along with Waukesha, Wisconsin-based custom automation firm MWES, were chosen by the Cupertino, California tech giant to help it create the equipment for COPAN.

“We’ve always positioned ourselves as an automation company ready, willing and able to move quickly for our partners,” said Kevin Keller, managing director at K2. “This project was presented to us and we immediately deployed the resources to get the job done, given the urgency of this pandemic.

“From the very beginning, we felt in sync with the Apple team and have shown our ability to be nimble and pivot accordingly throughout. We consider ourselves fortunate that Apple selected K2 and it’s been a true honor to work with their amazing team,” he said.

Although K2 specializes in food and beverage, the project proved to be a good fit for K2, said Phil Lapp, a spokesperson for K2.

“It required design, engineering and servicing systems integration – which is what we do,” he said. “We have a best in class team here of automation experts with over 130 years of talent in various industries.”

Pa. announces first two cases of coronavirus

Gov. Tom Wolf announced two presumptive cases of coronavirus – one in Delaware County and the other in Wayne County. Tests are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a second opinion.

The individuals, both adults, are currently self-quarantined in their homes.

“We anticipated this very scenario and have been preparing for Pennsylvanians to become impacted by this virus,” Wolf said. “This is not the first rapidly-spreading virus we have faced in our commonwealth and it will not be the last. We are prepared to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

Pennsylvania began testing potential samples of coronavirus last week after the CDC shipped tests to the states. The state is referring to these first two cases as “presumptive” until it can get a second opinion from the CDC.

The state has yet to say how either individual contracted the virus, but noted that the adult in Delaware County recently traveled to an area of the country where the virus has been reported.

“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now. Pennsylvanians should continue to help stop the spread of viruses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick.”

There are currently 100,000 cases of the virus worldwide, including more than 3,300 deaths. In the U.S., there have been 233 confirmed cases and 12 deaths.