The History of Additive Manufacturing and Its Use for Prototype Production

At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, we provide a wealth of manufacturing services, including extensive, precision-based, prototype fabrication. Our prototype capabilities range from single components to full assemblies with rigorous testing and full diagnostics of the final product. When you work with MultiSource, you gain the benefits of a state-of-the-art prototyping program that promises quality from the very beginning. Our prototyping technicians utilize additive manufacturing technologies to build unique components and assemblies for a broad range of industrial applications.

 

Additive manufacturing today is synonymous with 3D printing, and while it’s a newer industrial process, it has a rich, albeit short, history starting in 1974.

 

Additive Manufacturing Timeline

 

1974:  David E. H. Jones published a conceptual overview of 3D printing in his column in the New Scientist journal.

 

1981: After the development of early additive manufacturing technologies in 1980, Hideo Kodama, working at the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute, created two ways of additive manufacturing with a thermoset polymer.

 

1984: The stereolithography process was developed and patented by Olivier de Witte, Alain Le Méhauté, and Jean Claude André. Soon after, Chuck Hull from 3D Systems Corporation patented his own stereolithography fabrication system that used ultraviolet light lasers to cure photopolymer layers.

 

1988: Fuel deposition modeling (FDM), the type of 3D printing used by most commercial consumers, was developed by S. Scott Crump. His well-known company, Stratasys, marketed the first commercial FDM machine in 1992.

 

1995: The Fraunhofer Institute introduced selective laser melting processes.

 

2009: Any original patents for FDM machines and the FDM printing process expired. Because the industry was now open to competition, the development of this and other printing processes rapidly increased. In the 2010s, various metalworking forms of 3D printing were introduced, though limited, as were 3D printing of other materials than polymers, such as ceramics.

 

2012: Filabot, a 3D printing and filament company, developed ways for FDM and fueled filament fabrication (FFF) printers to utilize a broader range of more durable plastics.

 

2014: Dr. Manos M. Tentzeris and Dr. Benjamin S. Cook, working at the Georgia Institute of Technology, displayed the first use of new 3D printing software technology. This was a vertically integrated printed electronics additive manufacturing platform (VIPRE) that allowed the 3D printing of electronics with operational capacity up to 40 GHz.

 

Since 2014, software programs and 3D printing tools have been developed to even greater capabilities, and commercial consumer 3D printers have saturated the market. At MultiSource, the use of 3D printing is a key tool in the manufacturing of precision-based prototyping.

 

To learn more about our uses of additive manufacturing and prototyping capabilities, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500 today. Or request a quote or more information online to get started with us today.

 

 

Meeting Industry Standards for the Manufacturing of Food Production Equipment

Since 2006, MultiSource Manufacturing LLC and Forpak have partnered to provide innovative solutions for food packaging systems. This partnership has resulted in unique packing equipment, including conveyors, autotransfers, stacking systems, sorting, laning, and custom products designed for specialized operations. When you work with MultiSource and Forpak for your food packaging needs, you can expect the best in food production equipment. All of our equipment manufacturing processes and components, or full assemblies fabricated, adhere to the strict standards of the USDA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NSF 3A Standard for meat and poultry, and Baking Industry Sanitation Standards Committee (BISSC) standards for baked goods. Our BISSC certification ensures safe packaging solutions for fresh, frozen, and raw flour-based food products.

 

The BISSC was founded in 1949 to establish voluntary standards for packagers of baked goods in the rapidly growing national food industry. In 1966, the BISSC formed its Office of Certification to expand the use of BISSC standards and offer a more formalized recognition of companies adhering to the BISSC values. These standards are specific to the equipment used in the preparation, packaging, and storage of all commercial baked goods, including bread products, pastries, breakfast products, dessert goods, and much more.

 

Our certification with the BISSC expands even more so through partnerships with the American Society of Baking (ASB), American Institute of Baking (AIB) International, and the overall development of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards specific to the baking industry. Meeting these standards means our manufacturing of food production equipment has a mark of excellence in all areas, including the following.

 

Understanding of Sanitation: From the prototype to the final product in use, all of our food production equipment meets extremely high standards of sanitation. This includes sanitary materials that resist corrosion and prevent potential growth of mold or bacteria during use, effective sealant from operational materials like lubricant or cleaner, designs that offer ease of cleaning, limited risk of contamination with long-term use, and much more.

 

Support of the Workers: In addition to sanitation, our designs aim to support the employees working on the floor for hours at a time. Our food production equipment limits chronic pain from leaning, lifting, or repeated motion; prevents the risk of injury; and overall promotes a safe, healthy, and comfortable work environment for production floor employees.

 

Efficiency of Process: Whether on a food preparation, food packaging, or food storage production floor, our equipment designs work to improve the efficiency of the process. Our food production equipment is easily integrated into the majority of facilities and it offers a streamlining of the process with increased opportunities for automation and decreased risks of human error.

 

To learn more about our fabrication of food production equipment and our certification with BISSC, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500 today. Or to partner with us, request more information or request a quote online.

 

 

 

 

Use of Lean Practices for Quality Contract Manufacturing

At MultiSource Manufacturing, we provide an extensive range of contract manufacturing, fabrication, and assembly services. Because we offer such a wide variety of manufacturing at very different scales, it’s important to us that we implement waste reduction and efficiency at all times. To meet standards of low environmental impact and for in-house efficiency, we operate using lean manufacturing practices.

 

Lean manufacturing was developed by Toyota in the 1970s and has since been applicable globally in many industries. As a contract manufacturing provider, we use lean manufacturing practices to provide precision-based production, rapid prototyping, and Just-In-Time (JIT) delivery of components and assemblies to OEMs and our other customers. When you work with the MultiSource network for any of your fabrication needs, you gain the benefits that our lean manufacturing practices promote daily.

 

The elements of a lean manufacturing system include as-needed production, flawless project management, quality materials sourcing, and intelligent engineering. With our fully-outfitted production floor, skilled technicians, design and prototype program, and expert engineers, we’re able to operate with lean manufacturing practices from the start to finish of any project.

 

Design: Using advanced CAD/CAM systems and reverse engineering, we’re able to create a digital or physical model that meets your specifications for form and function. With virtual testing, simulation, and field projections, we’re able to understand the stresses that a component or system will endure in operation and create a manufacturing process that will be the most precise and efficient. With this design program we’re able to manufacture only what’s needed and reduce waste in production.

 

Fabrication and Assembly: With a quality prototype, our CNC machining centers, assemblers, and finishing equipment can quickly fabricate and assemble the final pieces. Our production processes benefit from the use of multi-directional mills and lathes as well as Swiss machines and other finishing equipment. We also utilize a Class 3 clean room, laser marking technology, welding tools, and plastic fabrication.

 

Delivery: Because we can quickly generate an exact prototype and rapidly perform fabrication operations, MultiSource is able to offer customers Just-In-Time delivery. This means that we can get products to your facilities exactly as you need them. This JIT delivery eliminates your need for backstock, allowing you to save room, time, and cost of storage.

 

No matter what type of component or assembly you need for your facilities or production line, you can rely on Multisource Manufacturing LLC to fabricate that product with lean manufacturing practices. To learn more about our contract manufacturing services, or to get started with us today, contact us at (952) 456-5500, request a quote, or request more information.

Role of Contract Manufacturing in Pharmaceutical Production

MultiSource Manufacturing LLC offers a wide range of fabrication and assembly services for many industries. The medical industry has a high standard for the precision and accuracy required during the production process because all equipment used in the medical industry will directly affect the lives of patients and medical professionals for better or for worse. As a contract manufacturer of medical tools used in many areas of the industry, MultiSource understands its responsibility in the production of quality, highly accurate components and assemblies. Our role as a contract manufacturing expert is to provide reliable services from start to finish in the design, production, assembly, and finishing processes.

 

Medical devices have come a long way technologically and ideologically in the last 50 years. Advancements have been made in the industry in all areas, from treatment capabilities to pharmaceutical production. Because so many new approaches to drug delivery and pharmaceutical manufacturing systems have emerged throughout the medical industry, the equipment used in those systems has advanced to accommodate these new ideas.

 

To meet continually advancing  medical technologies, the MultiSource network is dedicated to providing comprehensive manufacturing capabilities with state-of-the-art tools and intelligent engineering. The components and assemblies we manufacture for pharmaceutical production meet the high standards required in the field for sterile, contaminant-free function.

 

Our contract manufacturing services for pharmaceutical production devices include components and assemblies for various methods of drug fabrication, including:

 

  • milling for chemicals, capsules, and other drug delivery systems
  • granulation of drug particles and other fillers or inactive ingredients
  • coating and pressing of capsules, tablets, pills, and other drug formats
  • complex cooling equipment used in the selection and control of reactivity
  • highly precise systems for the extraction of solvents, material emulsions, temperature treating, and hydrolyzing
  • laboratory equipment used to build stoichiometric ratios of differing reagents

 

On an industrial level, pharmaceutical manufacturers need specialized production systems integrated on the production floor. For drug fabrication, the equipment used in these systems provides industrial capabilities, including:

 

  • power feeding used in continuous manufacturing with variable speeds and reliable stability
  • large-scale milling for chemical breakdown
  • heavy-duty blending with power equipment
  • large-scale, contained granulation
  • extrusion using hot melt technology
  • contained conveyor systems
  • and many other specialized tools needed for industrial pharmaceutical production

 

The production of pharmaceuticals is a highly technical, regulated industry. To meet industry standards and provide patients with a quality, reliable product, you need the right equipment. With the expertise of the MultiSource network, you can get the components, assemblies, and equipment you need.

 

To learn more about services for pharmaceutical manufacturers and our other work in the medical industry, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC today at (952) 456-5500. To find out more about our contract manufacturing services, request more information or request a quote online to get started with us today.

The Use of CNC Machining for Peripheral and Face Milling

When it comes to machining, there are many types of operations that can be utilized across manufacturing industries. Milling in particular is a highly versatile operation applied on CNC machining operation floors in the majority of fabrication facilities.

 

The precision, flexibility, speed, and quality that CNC milling provides is vital to the operations of the MultiSource Manufacturing LLC network. As a contract manufacturer, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive fabrication and assembly services from start to finish of any project, including complete CNC machining capabilities, engineering and design, a Class 1000 clean room workspace, plastic fabrication capabilities, finishing services, and much more.

 

Within each type of CNC machining operation, there are even more specialized techniques that can be applied depending on the format, materials, and desired end result. Milling, for example, has two primary techniques applied to the majority of situations when milling is appropriate. These two primary techniques are face milling and peripheral milling.

 

Face Milling

This milling operation works with the cutting mill positioned to be perpendicular against the component that will be worked on. The cutting mill spins on a central axis and moves to cut away sections of the component with its perpendicular motion. Face milling is considered to be the most common format for CNC operations. It is highly effective for rapid heavy-duty milling, high-feed milling, and other general face milling processes. Mills will typically use cutters at a 45º angle, but square shoulder and round insert cutters or side and face mills are utilized in other specific applications. 90º cutters are also useful for machining thin-walled components or components with weak fixtures.

 

Peripheral Milling

In contrast to face milling, peripheral milling places the cutting mill parallel to the component that will be machined. The cutting mill spins on an axis parallel to the component as it cuts away material from the work surface. When the mill is positioned this way, the full sides of the cutting mill are being applied to the work surface. This makes peripheral milling much more effective for rapidly removing large amounts of material from the work surface. Because of this, peripheral milling is useful for fabricating a basic component shape quickly, readying it for finer operations. It’s also used in large-scale milling or milling harder materials.

 

For visual reference, this diagram of peripheral and face milling shows a basic format for both CNC operations. Both face milling and peripheral milling are critical CNC machining operations used daily throughout operations in the MultiSource network. Our fully outfitted fabrication facilities have complete CNC machining capabilities in addition to our comprehensive design/build services.

CNC Machining Services

To learn more about CNC machining and our services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC today at (952) 456-5500. To get started with the MultiSource network, request more information or request a quote online.

Back to the Basics: Subtractive CNC Machining Operations

Machining operations of various types have been used in industrial settings for over 200 years. In the past 30 years, machining operations have developed exponentially to be faster, more precise, and capable of handling a wider range of materials. With the creation of digital technology and software systems, machining across industries is automated with computer numerical control (CNC). CNC machining is a highly accurate method of altering materials and fabricating even the most complicated parts. MultiSource Manufacturing LLC provides a wide range of services as a contract manufacturer, and CNC machining is a specialty across our six facilities.

 

The MultiSource network has been in operation for over 20 years, and our CNC machining capabilities have developed alongside computer technology, wireless network communications, and equipment improvements. Because of our experience and comprehensively outfitted machining production line, we can provide complete CNC machining services on multiple axes with quick, precision-based operations based on intelligent engineering designs.

 

Our facilities are outfitted with 140 CNC machines that all customers partnering with the MultiSource network can benefit from. Our CNC machining capabilities include 3-axis and 5-axis indexed milling centers as well as 80 mills, 20 Swiss machining centers, and 40 lathes all with vertical, horizontal, or multi-axis movement.

 

With a comprehensive repertoire of CNC machines, basic subtractive machining operations are all in our tool box for infinite combinations in manufacturing virtually any part. Basic, universal machining operations include:

 

  • Cutting: Cutting tools utilize one or more cutting edges that are harder than the component material. Single point tools and multi-cutting-edge tools are two standard cutting tool styles. Both perform more specific types of cutting operations. For example, single point tools perform planing, boring, and turning, while multi-cutting-edge tools perform drilling and milling.

 

  • Drilling: CNC drilling machines manufacture circular holes with two to four helical cutting edges. The drill operates parallel to its rotational axis as it is applied to the component.

 

  • Turning: A turning machine subtracts material from a component surface. A component is held on an axis and turned as a cutting edge removes material in a computer controlled pattern with precision and speed.

 

  • Reaming: Reaming machines are a valuable addition to any precision-based operation floor. Reaming serves to remove miniscule amounts of material from a drilled hole to create a specific size cut.

 

  • Boring: Boring is also used to finish roughly made holes with a bent single tip. The tip is advanced spinning into the pre-made hole and the cut is fine tuned. Boring is highly useful in precision machining and finishing operations.

 

  • Milling: Milling is applicable to the fabrication of many components. A mill with multiple cutting edges is slowly applied to a component surface and that component rotates on an axis. Both peripheral and face milling (cutting parallel versus perpendicular) are utilized on MultiSource operations floors.

 

To learn more about the basics of CNC machining and our services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500 and request more information, or request a quote online.

Benefits of Reverse Engineering for Semiconductor Electronics Manufacturing

When it comes to electronics manufacturing, extreme precision is needed to build a reliable, high-quality product. Printed circuit boards, electromechanical components, semiconductors, and any other part that goes into a full electronic assembly demands an exacting, well-tested design.

 

For over 35 years, MultiSource Manufacturing LLC has provided that level of precision in our electronics manufacturing, using reverse engineering to structure informed, pre-dissected design specifications. Our team of knowledgeable, experienced engineers applies reverse engineering techniques to the design of semiconductor components and other electromechanical parts and assemblies.

 

Reverse engineering provides a valuable analytical resource to our design technicians and engineers for a range of applications. By taking apart the physical parts of a component as well as the data of use and the theory of function, engineers are able to work backwards from a final part or assembly to reverse the design and start from the beginning with a usable analysis.

 

For semiconductor component design, reverse engineering gives our engineers a way to work backward from an existing design that fits a specific application and adjust certain aspects of it if needed, overall continually improving the component as a whole.

 

Using reverse engineering to take apart the parts of a semiconductor component or full assembly gives our engineers the information they need for design improvement, including:

 

  • theory in the design of parts and their operation
  • materials used and how they react to long-term use
  • overall structure of interior and exterior
  • manufacturing process
  • assembly order of operations
  • how an assembly reacts to stresses in operation, both expected and unusual
  • any other information that adds to our engineering database about the form and function of a part and a full assembly

 

With reverse engineering providing this information, our design team has several benefits to work with. First, they can save time in the engineering process because they are able to pull from a wealth of data gathered from the analysis of a part. This in turn saves costs of building unnecessary prototypes.

 

Secondly, our engineers can build higher quality parts with a range of improvements made to every aspect of the full assembly. This often eliminates time, energy, and resources spent on testing and inspections during final quality control processes. With a better product made more efficiently and quickly, our electronics engineers can improve your production schedule by improving our own.

 

To learn more about the reverse engineering processes we use to improve our electronics manufacturing services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC today at  (952) 456-5500, request a quote online, or request more information.

Quality Control from Start to Finish in the Prototyping and Final Inspection Process

At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, our network of multiple facilities across the upper Midwest serves a wide range of industries. From the rocketry components we fabricate that are selectively used by aerospace and defense customers to the financial processing assemblies used daily in retail centers across the globe, our products affect a broad number of industries. Because of the range of products and assemblies we create for OEMs in several industries, we understand the importance of quality control (QC) at every stage of the production process. From the beginning stages of design and prototyping to the final tests and inspections, MultiSource engineers, technicians, and other team members are dedicated to supporting QC and improving our practices on a daily basis.

 

In order to support QC in the production process and promote continued improvement across the board, MultiSource facilities are well outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment operated by skilled and knowledgeable team members. Each of our six locations provides standard prototyping programs, computer numeric control (CNC) machines, and assembly equipment as well as specialized tools for complex or unusual projects.

 

Our QC standards are applied to every step of the production process, and a standard part will move through that process and pass through each operation with thorough QC inspections.

 

Part Movement from Prototyping to Shipment

 

  1. Design and Prototyping: Before production begins, our engineering team works with the customer to develop a drawing with computer-aided design (CAD) programming and runs virtual simulations to test the function. Then we create a prototype and run additional simulations. When these prototypes pass QC inspections, the fabrication process begins.
  2. Component Fabrication: MultiSource utilizes CNC machining centers for horizontal, vertical, and multi-axis part manufacturing in addition to specialty mills, lathes, and Swiss CNC machines.
  3. Component Finishing: To complete components before assembling, our technicians employ a wide range of finishing services, including heat treating, anodizing, grinding, bead blasting, fastener insertion, honing, laser marking, and more.
  4. Assembly: Our assembly technicians provide standard mechanical assembly as well as electronic and electromechanical assemblies. The precision and quality of machined components is critical for an effective, reliable assembly.
  5. Assembly Finishing: Fine-tuning, cleaning, lubricating, and overall readying assemblies for integration into customer systems allows our team to begin final inspection and testing procedures.
  6. Inspections and Testing:  The final inspections are one of the most vital QC processes we apply to all components and assemblies before they leave our facilities. Our testing processes include non-invasive tests, such as thermography or vibration analysis, as well as invasive testing, such as stress limit testing, when needed.
  7. Packing and Shipping: When a component or full assembly passes our QC inspections and all applied tests with 100% accuracy, our packaging and shipping team can pull, pack, and ship our products to OEMs and other customers around the globe.

 

To learn more about our QC practices and standards from the start of prototyping to the end of inspections, contact MultiSource at (952) 456-5500. You can request more information and also request a quote online.

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.

Security and Accuracy in Financial Processing with High-Quality Credit Card Manufacturing

In today’s digital age, payment cards are the primary purchasing method worldwide. While this has revolutionized commercial transactions and put new meaning to the term “credit,” they have also created new security risks for buyers. To protect users from credit card related crimes, the financial processing industry continually develops improved card reader devices and software, and credit card manufacturing must keep up with the latest developments in security.

 

As a supplier of precision machined components designed for secure credit card manufacturing, MultiSource Manufacturing understands the importance of security, quality, and reliable solutions that can be easily integrated into the development of newer and better credit card systems.

 

The financial processing industry utilizes many different tools to support card data reading machines as a whole. The most secure of these devices are made with the highest quality precision machined parts. That’s where MultiSource comes in. Our team of engineers strive to continually design and machine precise parts involved in financial processing equipment, including the tools and production machines implemented in the credit card manufacturing industry.

 

Credit card manufacturing may seem straightforward when you look at those small plastic cards, but the production process demands some very specific operations that support security and accuracy. Some of the components we manufacture in the MultiSource network go into the production process of the most secure cards available.

 

These safer payment cards are made secure with the application of several steps in production. Typically, the security aspects of the average payment card include:

 

  1. Magnetic strip and EMV chip: All payment cards are embedded with a magnetic strip or, more recently, an EMV chip. The magnetic strip contains specifically-arranged iron oxide particles that provide encoded information to the card reader. Today, most cards contain an EMV chip in addition to a magnetic strip. The EMV chip holds an integrated circuit that relays information to the card reader. Both the magnetic strip and the chip contain unique, exact information about the payment card, minimizing the chances of fraud.
  2. Card number: The payment card number is also a form of fraud protection. A number for each card is embossed or stamped onto the surface of the card, correlating to the information the magnetic strip and the chip contain. These numbers often range from 13 to 20 digits to make it almost impossible for criminal activity to generate a random number successfully.
  3. Signature strip: Finally, the signature strip is the last bastion of built-in protection for your card ownership. Once you sign the back of your card, nobody can remove that signature without removing the unique panel underneath the signature strip. If the panel is removed, a card reader can alert the card company to the possibility of fraud.

 

With the precision machining we provide OEMs and other customers in the credit card manufacturing industry, the MultiSource network is able to support the continued efforts to make payment cards more secure. To learn more about our services in financial processing and other industries, please request a quote, or request more information.