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.

 

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.

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Basics of Electromechanical Contract Manufacturing

Electromechanical manufacturing is a term that covers a vast number of fabrication processes. Even within categories of electromechanical manufacturing, there are broad spectrums of production that cross many industries. MultiSource Manufacturing LLC has a broad range of manufacturing techniques and is dedicated to providing a large variety of contract manufacturing services for electromechanical fabrication in many industries. From medical devices to semiconductor components, our electromechanical contract manufacturing services offer a multitude of components and full assemblies to OEMs and other customers worldwide.

 

Electromechanical contract manufacturing may cover a great deal of products, but there are basic categories that each part fits into. The main groups of electromechanical manufacturing the MultiSource network provides include the following.

 

  • Robotics: This covers a large spectrum (as all our electromechanical services will), but specifically, we provide electromechanical manufacturing for robotics used in medical, aerospace, defense, food processing, automotive, filtration, and agriculture industries. Generally speaking, this includes any product from robotic surgical tools to large-scale production robots used in factory settings.
  • Microelectronics: With a Class 3/1000 clean room, MultiSource technicians are able to work with semiconductor components to create microelectronics for many industries. Microchip handling, wet processing, plastic fabrication, and other techniques allow us to fabricate microelectronics that make products such as implantable medical devices, financial processors, aeronautic controls, and automotive sensors possible.
  • Industrial appliances: With our electromechanical fabrication capabilities, our technicians are able to build packaging, laning, sorting, and other processing appliances used in a high-output factory setting. In particular, our partnership with Forpak allows us to create unique, intelligent food packaging appliances that meet FDA and global food safety standards.
  • Computers: In today’s highly technical world, computers and smart devices are necessary in a very wide range of settings. Our computational device manufacturing abilities allow us to create components and systems for many industries, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, financial processing, specialized electrical systems, agricultural, commercial, recreational, environmental, and more.

 

These categories are very general, and could easily warrant a deeper dive, but even these cover just a partial selection of what we can offer at MultiSource. Our engineers, technicians, and other employees have the knowledge and training needed for many electromechanical manufacturing operations. In addition to their skill, they have access to multiple well-outfitted production floors with hundreds of specialty machines, finishing tools, and advanced industrial processors.

 

To learn more about our electromechanical contract manufacturing capabilities, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Request more information, or request a quote to get started with us today.

Key Operations for Plastic Fabrication

Across various industries, plastics and polymers are used in countless applications with a broad range of complexities. Because of the prevalence of plastics in many industries, plastic fabrication has become a widespread, standardized manufacturing process that many technicians specialize in. In accordance with the rise in use of plastics in an industrial setting, the standards for quality control and the type of fabrication procedures have expanded and improved. At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, we provide comprehensive plastic fabrication services for the production of components and assemblies for OEMs and other customers.

 

Our plastic fabrication facilities can perform a wide range of operations, including advanced forming and specialized welding. The core operations of plastic fabrication at hand in our toolkit as a contract manufacturer include the following.

 

  • Molding: A large majority of plastic forms are shaped using molding techniques. Molding is one of the oldest forms of plastic fabrication, and today, many types of different molding techniques are available. Injection molding, compressed molding, blow molding, and rotational molding are several common types of plastic molding used in industrial facilities for varying results.
  • Welding: Plastic welding is a highly complex process that requires an understanding of the plastic type, the format of the weld, and the calibration of the welding tool. For polymers and other plastics that cannot be reliably connected with adhesives or other binding methods, welding is critical. Plastic welding techniques include hot plate welding, speed tip welding, hot gas welding, and ultrasonic welding.
  • Extrusion: Many components are made using extrusion methods. Extruded plastics are melted and forced through die systems to create seamless forms in various tube shapes and sizes. Thanks to their reliable fabrication, clean results, and fast production, plastic extrusion methods are a common and desirable manufacturing technique.
  • Forming: Plastic forming is a broad term for many different production techniques. In general, most plastic forming techniques include blending and compounding of different plastic materials, thermoforming shapes, lamination of surfaces, and plastic foaming of insulation and other free-form components.
  • Cutting: There are many common cutting, milling, and lathing techniques of plastic components. In addition to machine cutting of simple shapes, die cutting provides a method of creating more intricate forms.

 

Our plastic fabrication capabilities offer a highly comprehensive production program. Our technicians can create a broad range of simple to complex components and full assemblies. To learn more about our plastic fabrication program, contact MultiSource Manufacturing at (952) 456-5500. Request more information or request a quote online to get started with us today.

Uses and Benefits of Swiss-Type CNC Machining

In the past 10 years alone, the use of Swiss-style machining has increased across a wide variation of industries. Though the equipment is often more expensive than other types of CNC machining, the benefits of Swiss machining are many and enough to explain the rapid expansion of its use.

 

MultiSource Manufacturing LLC utilizes Swiss CNC machining for many production operations daily. From intricate components used in medical devices to large assemblies for U.S. defense organizations, the MultiSource network makes use of Swiss machining to provide OEMs and other customers the skills in manufacturing they need.

 

While the MultiSource network utilizes many different methods of CNC machining with success, including vertical and horizontal lathes, mills, and more, our Swiss machining centers are unparalleled in several aspects:

 

  1. Swiss machines are able to perform more complex machining operations than any other type of CNC system. Because Swiss machines use a collet and guide brushing with tooling movement across the Z-axis rather than the more simplistic structure of most other machines, they can operate with extreme accuracies with tolerances as tight as a few micrometers.
  2. In addition to extreme accuracy, the tooling movement of Swiss machines can handle slender components with diameters as slim as .008”. We utilize Swiss machining for components with diameters from .008” to 1.250”.
  3. Swiss machining operations are also more rapidly performed than other types of machining. Because Swiss machines often have a secondary spindle in addition to the main operating spindle, they can combine several operations into one. Specifically, a secondary spindle collects a component as it is cut and transfers it to the second operation, finally ejecting it into a collection bin. This eliminates the need for a technician to physically transfer components from one operation to the next.
  4. The MultiSource network’s Swiss machines also provide live tooling capabilities that increase the speed of the production process overall. Live tooling works with rotary cutters that work independently of the main spindles. They offer increased intricacy in the machining process and increased speed towards final production.

 

The MultiSource network’s Swiss machines provide more accurate, complex, slender components with speed and efficiency. Our CNC machining operations are improved completely with the use of our Swiss machines, but like all our other production, quality control relies on continued maintenance of equipment. Swiss machines and all other equipment are kept on a strict yearly maintenance schedule to maintain peak conditions and provide excellence in manufacturing.

 

For complex components on rapid production schedules, look no further than MultiSource Manufacturing. To learn more about our capabilities in CNC machining, contact us at (952) 456-5500, or request a quote or more information online to get started with us today.

Understanding the Role of Rapid Prototyping for Kanban Fulfillment and Just-In-Time Production

For over 20 years, the MultiSource Manufacturing network has worked to provide high-quality custom-made products from the ground up to OEMs and customers in a wide range of industries. A key component of building reliable, complete products for any industry is the prototyping process. With our multiple facilities, MultiSource is able to provide comprehensive product design services with advanced software and additive manufacturing capabilities. When you partner with the MultiSource network for your project today, you can trust our team to provide the best customer service, design, build, and assembly from start to finish, beginning with our dedicated 3D printing and rapid prototyping, ending with our additional specialized production locations.

Our team of expert, skilled engineers works with state-of-the-art 3D printing and machining equipment seamlessly directed with advanced computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software. Using this software and equipment, MultiSource engineers can create an exact virtual image of a part with geometric specifications and function simulation and then fully-realize the physical prototype for testing and customer approval.

The goal of MultiSource rapid prototyping procedures is not only to provide the quality design and production of a viable part, but also to promote our continued emphasis on and practice of Kanban manufacturing and Just-In-Time fulfillment.

Kanban

Originally developed in Japan at the Toyota manufacturing facilities, Kanban is an early method of lean manufacturing. The word literally translates as “visual signals” or “signboards” because of the original procedure involving customers sending Kanban cards to manufacturers to request supplies, but the concept has expanded to encompass newer lean manufacturing practices. Today, Kanban works to limit waste and improve efficiency in production in a lean manufacturing process that operates based on OEM and customer demand. Our demand-based production benefits greatly from the paired rapid prototyping utilized across the MultiSource network, and without the speed and accuracy our prototyping teams provide, Kanban practices would be severely limited.

Just-In-Time

Like Kanban manufacturing, Just-In-Time fulfillment works as a lean manufacturing system to limit production waste and streamline operations. Where Kanban manufacturing organizes production around the direct request of customers, Just-In-Time fulfillment incorporates Kanban into a comprehensive cycle of design, fabrication, assembly, delivery, and integration. The concept of Kanban manufacturing and Just-In-Time fulfillment work together to provide a production system that meets demands with little to no unnecessary waste of materials, time, or energy. Our rapid prototyping services fit perfectly into the foundation of MultiSource’s support and practice of a full-fledged Kanban and Just-In-Time operation.

To learn more about our Kanban practices and Just-In-Time fulfillment with contract manufacturing, or to find out about our complete services for rapid prototyping, submit a request more information, or request a quote today.

The Importance of Laser Marking and Welding in the Fabrication of Complex Components

MultiSource Manufacturing LLC is committed to providing complete contract fabrication services to OEMs and other customers across the globe. To uphold our standard of comprehensive services, our multiple facilities work as a network of manufacturing, assembling, and finishing providers. From full engineering and prototyping services to finishing and value-added services, our team of expert fabricators can build the components and full assemblies you need.

While prototyping quality components with reliable, well-sourced materials is key to excellence in production, we understand the integral role that finishing services play in a comprehensive process. To meet quality finishing standards, the MultiSource network performs value-added services from plating to laser marking and beyond.

For many manufacturing projects, laser marking is a key operation during the finishing process.

 

What is Laser Marking?

Just as its name tells, laser marking is a process of labeling or otherwise marking a component with a laser. Laser marking can be accomplished with staining, annealing, cutting away, foaming, or engraving techniques. We perform laser marking operations on a wide range of materials including sheet metal, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, bronze, titanium, plastics, laminants, and painted surfaces.

 

How does it work?

To perform laser marking, there are several methodologies that vary depending on the material to be marked. Heat marking lasers can burn a surface and create an oxidation process to change the marked surface color. It can also create a chemical change that will otherwise stain or alter the color of a marked surface. This is typical for laser marking plastic surfaces. Engraving can be performed using the heat of a laser to remove surface material with evaporation or melting. Foaming laser marking can be applied to plastics as well. This process creates a gas bubble by evaporating surface material. The diffusion of light through the gas creates a color change in the desired areas.

 

Benefits of Laser Marking

We utilize laser marking in the finishing of many components because it offers a greater speed of surface marking with consistent quality of precision. Laser marking is effective on a wide range of varying materials and provides a durable, computer-controlled mark that is resistant to many forms of damage. Overall, laser marking is a faster and more highly-controlled marking process that offers a quality, long lasting surface alteration.

 

To learn more about laser marking and the comprehensive finishing operations we provide, contact MultiSource today. To get started on your fabrication project with the MultiSource network, request a quote or request more information.

 

MultiSource Manufacturing at the Design-2-Part Trade Show!

Our team is excited to be attending the Design-2-Part trade show in Grapevine, TX! We’ll be joining some of the country’s best manufacturers at the region’s largest contract manufacturing trade show. If you’re looking for the best in precision machining, visit MultiSource Manufacturing at booth #307.

Click here to get your FREE tickets and join us at Design-2-Part on March 13-14. We can’t wait to see you!

MULTISOURCE MANUFACTURING WELCOMES NEW TEAM MEMBERS!

Adam Lee joins the MultiSource operations management team

MultiSource team

Adam Lee joined MultiSource Manufacturing this week as the General Manager for our Fridley, MN location.  Adam will report to Ken Kucik, VP of Operations.

Adam has experience in manufacturing at several locations, including as a manager at Best Source Electronics where he helped increase On Time Delivery and trained all employees on Lean processes and participation in Kaizen events. He also has experience in Continuous Improvement, scrap reduction, and cross-training of employees. Adam has a BA from the University of Minnesota, an MBA from St. Thomas, a certification in Project Management, and is a Six-Sigma Green Belt. He also served our country in the Army in the Middle East in officer roles.

Alissa Garcia joins the MultiSource sales team

MultiSource Team

Alissa has joined our team as Sales Manager for Industrial products and will report to Brent Fischmann, VP of Sales & Marketing.  Working from our locations in the Metro Minneapolis area, she will work with existing and potential customers to build relationships for future growth opportunities for the company. Previously, Alissa worked at Wurth Industries as a Key Account Manager and at Dichtomatik Americas in several roles including senior materials planner, inside sales manager, and industrial distribution business unit manager. She has her undergrad degree from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in Leadership and Management from Concordia.