Installation Services and Technical Support in the Food Industry

Anyone working in the food industry knows the strict regulations and guidelines that manufacturers and food producers need to follow to meet standards for food safety and quality control. Because rules under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are so strict in order to protect consumers from foodborne pathogens, facilities need to continue improving their practices and updating equipment standards. In the MultiSource Manufacturing LLC network, our Forpak division works to provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other customers with innovative food packaging solutions, including state-of-art large equipment that can be tailored to specific food-packing needs. Our high-quality laning and stacking machines are designed to support and improve the capabilities of your production line by streamlining the moving and sorting of products. If you are a food industry player, Forpak equipment can be key in making improvements to the packaging process and in the promotion of worker safety.

 

From stackers like our GSS and GSSB models to our sorting and laning systems, all our equipment is ready to be integrated into a client’s current facilities. Our engineers and field technicians provide comprehensive installation services and start-up support for all customers.

 

Full Support Services

  • We offer field installation of all Forpak equipment. This includes the transportation of safely packed equipment components, commissioning, testing and inspection to ensure accurate operations.
  • After our expert service technicians have fully integrated a working assembly into your facilities, we provide Machine Operator Training to any of your own employees who will be qualified as on-site technicians.
  • When integration and training is complete, Forpak support services will still be fully available to all customers, with phone support as needed and on-site qualified technician services at the ready to analyze any issues and make adjustments if needed.
  • Forpak provides a 12-month complete parts warranty, and a spare parts inventory that is ready to ship the day of any request 95% of the time.
  • Not only do we offer support services after installation to guarantee a seamless integration into your facilities, we also provide long-term maintenance services. This includes scheduled upgrades and preventative maintenance services as well as retrofits and software/hardware updates.

 

No matter what type of Forpak food packaging equipment you integrate into your facilities, you can be sure we will do everything it takes to smoothly put new operations and work sites into place without undue issues. To learn more about the packaging solutions we offer the food industry as well as the installation and technical support services we provide, contact Forpak at (952) 491-6889 or pgoche@multisourcemfg.com. Request more information online today or request a quote to get started with us today.

Plastic Fabrication in the Manufacturing World Part 1: Polypropylene

Since the development of plastics in the last 100 years, polymers and plastic compounds have become heavily utilized in various manufacturing industries, largely because plastics are cost-effective, easily manufactured, and highly useful fabrication materials that are applicable to a broad range of purposes. At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, we work with a variety of plastics to build precision-based components and full assemblies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other customers. As a contract manufacturer for multiple industries, plastic fabrication plays an important role in the full-service design and building of many products for our customers. Part 1 of this blog series focuses on polypropylene, including its properties and uses.

 

While we work with many plastics to perform welding, forming, and finishing operations, the four primary plastics we use are polypropylene, PVC, CPVC, and PFA. For many reasons, polypropylene is key plastic due to its durability and other properties.

 

Properties: Polypropylene is one of the more lightweight plastics that is used most often worldwide as a packing solution. This is mainly because it has a very low risk of deforming with repeated bending and movement. Polypropylene has a high elasticity and toughness that will hold up against stress by bending and reforming its original shape. Because of this, polypropylene is very resistant to fatigue. Additionally, it is resistant to acidic or alkaline chemical exposure and resistant to electricity, making it ideal for insulation purposes. Polypropylene can also be made semi-transparent or opaque for various cosmetic results.

 

Uses: The properties of polypropylene make it ideal for many applications in an industrial setting. It also responds well to various manufacturing techniques, including injection molding, CD printing, CNC machining, and other production operations. The two main types of polypropylene, homopolymer and copolymer, are useful in multiple applications. These compounds work well for parts facing high stress, needing to resist fatigue, needing to be deformed and reformed to function (such as a hinge or lid), having to be manufactured with injection molding, and much more. MultiSource utilizes polypropylene extensively in the semiconductor component, financial processing, medical device as well as other industries. More parts made with polypropylene include electrical insulation, packaging, and many additional components. Parts made with these particular plastic compounds can last a long time in any setting that won’t be subjected to high heats that may begin to melt or deform polypropylene, and they last a long time without compromising effectiveness and reliability.

 

Other plastics we use in the manufacturing of various components will be covered in the next three parts of this blog post. Plastic fabrication is a unique field that requires specific knowledge and advanced technical training to understand precision in a manufacturing setting. Our plastic fabrication capabilities allow our technicians and engineers to meet customers’ specific needs. To learn more about our contract manufacturing services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. You can also request more information or a quote to get started with us today.

 

Breaking Down Forpak’s Promise to the Food Industry

MultiSource Manufacturing LLC and Forpak are dedicated to continually improving our contribution to the industrial world and promoting safer, smarter, and more streamlined working facilities. When it comes to Forpak’s work in food packaging solutions, we have a promise to the food industry to provide products that meet specific requirements for the production line, workspace, and general practices of our customers.

With our foundational promise, Forpak can offer customers innovative designs that can be easily integrated into operational facilities and reliable services as a contract manufacturer. If you’re working with packaging meats, bakery goods, or other food products, Forpak can provide the solutions you need for your production lines in the food industry.

In a nutshell, the Forpak promise ensures our customers see improvements in their own production process, including smooth operations, safer facilities for workers, and overall betterment of packaging results. To accomplish this, we promise to adhere to practices and generate solutions that open doors to the following:

  • Reduce labor costs by 30 – 50%: Forpak designs are engineered to create real change in your production line. Our advanced technologies include sorting, laning, stacking, transferring, conveying, and other locomotive operations that can be included in any food packaging facility. Thanks to Forpak products, our customers are able to reduce elements of human labor, maximize worker efficiency, and improve the workspace for essential employees.
  • Reduce exposure to human contamination: One of the most important aspects of food safety in the packaging industry is limiting the exposure of human contact with the product. Humans can carry pathogens and other unsanitary contaminants, and it’s critical to prevent cross-contamination on the production line. Our designs reduce the need for workers at various stages, allowing Forpak to contribute to a safer, more hygienic food industry facility.
  • Reduce Workman’s Compensation claims: Because our food packaging equipment designs streamline the packaging process and reduce the need for workers at many stages, our customers also see a decrease in worker compensation claims. Our products are designed to eliminate or significantly lower the need for human workers in job positions that require repetitive motions and physically demanding responsibilities. Repetitive motion and high physical stress are the most common causes of workplace injury.
  • Allow for increasing production speed and downstream automation: The general goal of our designs, in addition to improving food safety and bettering the work environment, is to improve production for our customers. With our automated food packaging equipment, customers can increase speed in production, limit downtime from traffic jams, and overall improve future reliability in a downstream automation facility.

Our promise as a global food industry equipment provider is what guides us in each design project. To learn more about our services in the food industry and our innovative designs, contact Forpak at (952) 491-6523 or pgoche@multisourcemfg.com. Request more information online today.

Embracing Lean Innovation within the World of Contract Manufacturing

At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, we continually strive to improve our services and practices as a contract manufacturer. A significant part of how we improve is with the feedback of our customers, our partners, and our own employees. Taking feedback into account is the first step in improving our operations, expanding our role in the industry, and meeting our customers’ needs. The next step in that process, however, is analyzing the feedback we receive and understanding how to develop new practices where needed. Once new practices are developed, the final step is determining how to implement these best practices without compromising other systems. This method of improvement is a largely cyclical process of gaining feedback, making improvements, and diagnosing the performance of the changes and operations floor overall. The most effective way to establish a system that enacts that cycle is to embrace lean innovation concepts for contract manufacturing.

While most industry players have a deep understanding of implementing lean manufacturing and a general definition of lean innovation practices, they don’t always know that today’s idea of lean innovation is a much newer concept. Lean innovation is targeted to the design and engineering processes more so than the manufacturing process itself.

What is lean innovation?

Five key phases need to be taken into account when applying lean innovation practices for today’s production world.

  1. Listen: Receive feedback from your customers at various integrals in the timeline of product function.
  2. Target: Find where the issue is from an engineering standpoint, taking into consideration all stress and factors of the customer’s facilities.
  3. Solve: Develop a solution for the targeted issue.
  4. Prototype: Using precision-based tactics, create a prototype to replace any parts and assemblies that posed an issue.
  5. Test: Implement rigorous testing practices on the prototype before generating a final product.

How does it work for contract manufacturing?

In the world of contract manufacturing, implementing lean innovation concepts for improving previous projects or altering any final components past the build phase can be difficult. This is partly because many products are uniquely tailored to customer specifications and partly because it may not be helpful to rethink past projects that won’t need to be produced again. On the other hand, lean innovation results can be universal within a component or full assembly function. For example, if a customer needs a product that is new to your engineers, lean innovation tactics come in by taking into account feedback from past projects that used similar components. This can be as simple as a threaded screw design that needed correction from a failure after years of use.

Lean innovation is a largely generalized process we are all doing a little bit all the time. However, when it comes to targeting issues and improving in something like precision contract manufacturing, it can be incredibly important to break each phase down into as much detail as possible. To learn more about our services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. You can also request more information or request a quote online today.

NEMA 4X Grade Enclosures for Food Production Equipment

The global food industry requires specific regulations for every stage of the production process. This includes the growing and harvesting, transportation, processing, packaging, storing, and distributing of all food products. The extreme regulations and standards required in the food industry are largely because of the potential food-borne illnesses that can be pervasive without proper handling and contaminant prevention.

 

However, other factors also demand the strict regulation of food processing such as food quality, nutrient preservation, and freshness. At Forpak, we work to provide solutions for safe, hygienic food production equipment with innovative designs that meet all global standards for quality and sanitation. We join forces with MultiSource Manufacturing LLC to design and fabricate high-quality, customizable packaging solutions for OEMs and other customers.

 

One of the most commonly used types of food production equipment in packing facilities are conveyors. Moving products safely without damage from one stage of production to the next is critical on any processing floor. Forpak builds continuous-use food-grade conveyors tailored to your facilities. Our conveyors are built to last longer than any lightweight products available in the industry, with complete washdown capabilities and stainless-steel construction.

 

Because conveyors run on electricity, it’s vital to protect the delicate circuitry controlling your equipment from food particles, liquids, dust, and other common contaminants in a factory setting. It is also equally important to prevent any contamination of food products from electronics. To keep both electrical systems and food products safe, we build all enclosures on conveyor systems to meet NEMA 4X standards.

 

NEMA Standards

NEMA was established as a small enclosure fabricator in 1987 and has since grown to be the industry-leading manufacturer and certifier of electrical enclosures. Today, there are six standard NEMA ratings for electrical enclosures (learn more about all twenty NEMA ratings). The lowest NEMA rating is NEMA 1. NEMA 1 enclosures are for indoor use only and protect workers from exposure to hazardous circuitry as well as preventing dust and other small particulates from falling into the electrical equipment. We build our food grade conveyors to meet NEMA 4X standards, which means our enclosures:

 

  • Protect personnel from hazardous circuitry both indoors and outdoors
  • Prevent contamination of circuitry from solid foreign objects including dust blown with strong winds
  • Protect circuitry from liquid contamination including rain, snow, ice, hose spray, and other sources of water
  • Protect enclosure components and all electronics inside from corrosion with treated steel and other additive measures
  • Maintain peak capacity of interior electrical components even when faced with freezing temperatures and ice formations

 

Because our conveyor enclosures meet NEMA 4X standards, they can be implemented in a wide range of food processing facilities, including freezer warehouses and other climate-controlled packaging settings. With additional protection against liquids, you can maintain high levels of sanitation with routine power washing and hose-downs of processing equipment.

 

If you’re looking to implement innovative systems with quality food production equipment, contact Forpak at (612) 419-1948 or forpaksupport@multisourcemfg.com. Request more information online today.

Microchip Reticle Handling for Semiconductor Components Fabrication

As a contract manufacturer, we work to provide components and full assemblies to OEMs and other customers in a broad range of industries. From aerospace and defense parts to medical devices, our expert technicians, skilled engineers, and overall staff are dedicated to supporting quality and precision in all of our products and services.

 

One of the primary industries we serve are the fabricators of semiconductor components and assemblies. The parts we make at MultiSource Manufacturing LLC for the semiconductor components industry play integral roles in key production processes including microchip reticle handling with state-of-the-art steppers.

 

“Stepper” is a broad term for a processing system that moves reticles and wafers through the photo-engineering treatment. Similar to the development of film photographs, the photo-engineering process uses light application and chemical exposure to generate a semiconductor microchip. General stepper components include:

 

  • Wafer loader and stage: These components are the initial stage of a stepper system. This stage loads a photoresist-coated silicon wafer into the lower front of the stepper. An automated system then moves the wafer into the alignment stage, readying it for exposure.
  • Reticle loader and stage: A quartz reticle with an etched chrome pattern is entered into the stepper via reticle loader. It is then staged in alignment for exposure to multiple wafers with periodic realignment.
  • Reticle alignment system: Precise automated alignment of the reticle is vital for effective wafer exposure in microchip processing. As the wafer is developed in alignment with the reticle it is moved on x and y axes. Multiple alignments are necessary for exact printing of circuitry onto the wafer.
  • Illumination system: Once the alignment and printing processes are complete, the wafer is exposed to the illumination system. The illumination system uses a reduction lens with a pre-programmed exposure time and stepping movement to generate grid pattern.
  • Chemical wash: When the illumination process is complete, the wafer is transferred to a chemical wash stage. This wash removes areas of the wafer that are not covered by photoresist, completing the microchip wafer development.

 

A wafer stepper system is a key tool in the development of semiconductor silicon wafers with high resolution and quality results in mass production. The fabrication of microchip reticle handling equipment like steppers is one of the many services the MultiSource network provides to the semiconductor industry. If you’re developing microchip wafers and fabricating other semiconductor components, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Request more information or request a quote to get started with us today.

Benefits of Laning Capabilities in Food Production Equipment

MultiSource Manufacturing LLC and Forpak work together to create innovative solutions for the food processing and packaging industry, meet global safety standards, and generate unique systems tailored to our customers’ needs. Every day that we work to design and manufacture specialty food packaging solutions, we find more ways to streamline production processes and incorporate the benefits each solution provides.

 

Primarily, Forpak builds solutions for the baked goods, meat, and pizza industries. Our skilled engineers and technicians work together to put our state-of-the-art machining equipment to the test in generating industry-leading food production equipment for OEMs and other customers.

 

One of the best solutions we can build into our custom food production equipment is the capability of laning products on a conveyor as they are transported from one operation to the next. Laning is a conveyor tool with many benefits for food packaging and processing facilities, including:

 

  • Buffering: Laning is an important conveyor tool for handling the accumulation of products on a line without causing backup or product damage. As goods accumulate at any point where that accumulation is designed to occur or will naturally happen, a buffer laning system can alleviate that accumulation and keep products moving forward.
  • Diverting: In addition to buffering an accumulation of products at certain points on the production line, an effective laning system can move products in multiple directions, working in diversions when necessary to keep products going the way they need to go. A diverting lane system can increase efficiency and limit exposure of each product to potential contamination.
  • Orienting: Depending on the product, an orienting lane system may need to be put into place on a conveyor system. If goods need to be rotated or reoriented at certain stages of the production line, a logical, effective laning system will prevent damage or mismanagement of the products and their packaging materials.
  • Combining: In many cases, product components need to be combined at some point on the production line. With a good laning system, product components can be sorted, combined, and packaged in a streamlined, sanitary, and safe process. This is especially key in packaging products that will have multiple of the same item per unit.
  • Sanitation: Above all, sanitation and food safety are the most important factors to consider in the manufacturing of any food production equipment. On many conveyor lines, laning is used as a method for preventing cross contamination between products, maintaining the integrity of the product, and overall ensuring sanitation practices during processing and packaging.

 

Laning systems are just one of the many essential design systems we work into our food production equipment solutions. To learn more about Forpak’s comprehensive capabilities and our current designs for food production equipment, contact Forpak at (612) 419-1948. For more about our other services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Request more information or request a quote to get started with us today.

Importance of Continued Medical Device Manufacturing in the Face of COVID-19

As we move through the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more states are issuing stay-at-home orders and shutting down nonessential business operations. For essential operations, it’s become even more important for production and services to continue in their support of communities, medical professionals, and national safety. At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, our most essential operation today is the production of high-quality, precision-based medical devices. Our skilled engineers and technicians are working daily to fabricate medical equipment that will be critical in caring for COVID-19 patients and developing treatments as well as treating non-coronavirus conditions. With our continued medical device manufacturing practices, MultiSource is dedicated to doing its part in sustaining positive action in the face of this major health crisis.

 

Many medical devices, protective equipment, and treatment tools are in extreme demand during this time. Shortages of medical tools are a serious issue that we, as manufacturers, need to cooperate to combat. Our staff is working to maintain the supply of medical devices, tools, and components that we fabricate for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other customers.

 

Some medical devices and components we fabricate and assemble, and are key in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and other patients with respiratory conditions, include:

 

  • Surgical equipment and instrumentation: While there is limited surgical treatment for COVID-19 patients, there are still various tools and instruments necessary for intensive care of coronavirus and other respiratory infection conditions. Even basic tools such as IV applications, needles, heart monitors, and other generic hospital equipment are vital in saving many lives during a pandemic like the one that is occurring now.
  • Surgical navigation: Fluid draining, catheterization, internal diagnostics, and other treatments that may need surgical navigation tools are utilized hundreds of times daily in emergency rooms (ERs), intensive care units (ICUs), and hospitals treating the rapid influxes of COVID-19 patients around the globe. Our medical device manufacturing services work to support continued use of these tools in the face of shortages.
  • Electrical and battery: Many devices are electronic systems that use a direct power source or battery supply. Equipment such as ventilators and fluid drainage devices that are electrically powered are a critical aspect of COVID-19 treatment, particularly for patients with severe cases of the virus. Our production of these components is an important part of our role in supplying the medical community battling the coronavirus.
  • Pharmaceutical mixing and packaging: While no vaccine has been developed yet for the coronavirus, some pharmaceutical support care options exist. In addition, vaccines and treatments for many other respiratory illnesses, immuno-compromising conditions, and other medical conditions that put patients at risk of severe infection of COVID-19 are available. To promote the continued development and distribution of these medications, our work in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical tool components is valuable.

 

During this pandemic, we’ll do our part to protect everyone from COVID-19. To learn more about our medical device manufacturing, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. You can request more information or request a quote online to get started with us today.

Streamlining Production with Smart Food Assembly Equipment

For over 30 years, Forpak has worked to understand and provide the best food packaging solutions for large-scale industrial packing facilities. Our partnership with MultiSource has further expanded our capabilities over the years, with development of new production technology, facilities, software, and expert team members.

Today, our products are used globally, and we work with Rockwell Automation to generate intelligent machines that can promote streamlined automated production lines. With our capabilities and partnership with Rockwell Automation, Forpak is able to create unique food assembly equipment that changes the way our customers process and pack a wide range of food products.

Automated smart food assembly equipment can be easily integrated into your facilities with minimal production downtime during installation. With our efficient, innovative designs and intelligent automation software, your facilities can see rapid upgrades in production time, quality, and safety. Benefits of automated food assembly equipment include:

 

  • Downtime Reduction: Rockwell Automation and Forpak create solutions that can be quickly installed, so you won’t lose time during new equipment integration. Our packaging equipment solutions are also equipped with easy access to lanes and conveyors with safety locks, so in the event of packaging errors, workers can reset or right any issues quickly and safely.
  • Greater Precision: With streamlined automated production and packaging systems that have intelligent processing centers, your operations line will see a marked improvement in the precision of the finished product. Whether that means more accurate sorting systems or improved packaging results, an automated, smart assembly will eliminate even the smallest lapse in precision.
  • Real Time Diagnostics: Rockwell Automation programs can provide real-time diagnostics both locally and remotely. This includes a broad range of data and diagnostics such as sorting accuracy, production schedule adherence, equipment health, motor efficiency, oil analysis, and much more. This diagnostics capability prevents a broad range of causes of production downtimes.
  • Maintenance Minimization: These diagnostic capabilities will greatly minimize the need for unexpected or undue maintenance. Your maintenance schedule will see rapid relief, and in many cases, the integration of automated food assembly equipment with diagnostic capabilities opens the door for our customers to develop a high-quality, effective maintenance schedule for their facilities.
  • Equipment Longevity: Because of these improved diagnostic abilities and maintenance minimizations, all your facility’s equipment will see a greatly increased longevity and long-term integrity.
  • Total Ownership Cost Reduction: Thanks to these overall benefits from the integration of automated food assembly equipment, your cost of ownership will see a great reduction. In virtually all cases, the installation of automated equipment paid for itself many times over, and often in a short period of time.

 

To learn more about the integration of automated food assembly equipment, contact Forpak at (612) 419-1948. For more information about our other services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Request more information or request a quote to get started with us today.

Types of Software We Use in the Contract Manufacturing Process

In any modern manufacturing facility, the use of software systems and digitally controlled equipment is necessary. Even the simplest, smallest fabrication facility most likely uses software for some purpose, whether that means automated equipment, inventory tracking, engineering and design, simulations and troubleshooting, or general calculations.

At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, we utilize software programs for a wide range of purposes. From the office to the production floor, intelligent digital tools make it possible for us to provide OEMs and other customers with the precision and excellence we’re known for. As an industry-leading provider of contract manufacturing, we use software to improve our company daily and continue to provide the broad range of fabrication and design services we offer.

MultiSource Manufacturing produces components and full assemblies for many different industries, including medical, defense, aerospace, food, semiconductor, and more. Software programs are used comprehensively on each part of the production floor for all manufacturing and general day-to-day needs. Some primary examples of how we implement software include:

 

  • Project management: For the scheduling, outlining, and delegating of any project we take on, software plays an important role in generating information, estimating timelines, determining materials and tools, and sharing all that information among the parties involved.
  • Prototyping: For CAD/CAM design and general virtual prototyping, software systems are key. We use software specialized to engineering a digital 3D image, projecting specifications, generating calculations and predictions, and producing a 3D printed part.
  • Automated equipment: A large majority of our equipment on the production floor is automated. From versatile horizontal and vertical machining centers to calibrated plastic welding equipment, our equipment relies on software programs for direction. This automation provides the precision and accuracy required for the many intricate or complex parts and full assemblies we manufacture.
  • Inspection and simulation: When prototypes or finished components are completed, our team of expert technicians utilize specialty software programs to run thorough diagnostics of the condition of fabricated parts. They also perform comprehensive simulations that predict the behavior of components and full assemblies in a functioning setting with likely stress factors.
  • Maintenance program: To protect the integrity of our manufacturing practices, MultiSource adheres to a well-oiled maintenance program and upkeep schedule. With maintenance-scheduling software, predictive software technologies, and digital analysis, we can maintain an optional condition in all areas of our facility.
  • Inventory tracking: From materials and parts we use in daily production to cleaning supplies and staff safety tools, our inventory tracking database relies on a software program that can handle complex records. Our inventory tracking software makes sure we have what we need to keep our production schedule streamlined while continuing to meet global industrial certification standards and OSHA goals.

 

In addition to the preceding uses, software plays an important role at MultiSource facilities. To learn more about our contract manufacturing capabilities and the software we use, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Also, you can request more information or request a quote online to get started with us today.