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CMTC trains printed circuit board manufacturers in AM

California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) announced that it is providing 3D printing training to Mini Micro Stencil. The goal is to help the company expand internal 3D printing capacity and increase productivity.

Mini Micro Stencil was started in 1994 by Gary Miller and is a veteran-owned, small operation. The company provides printed circuit board (PCB) and surface mount technology (SMT) tools as well as contract rework services for the military, aerospace, medical, commercial electronics, and transportation industries. Mini Micro Stencil’s contract rework is a major portion of the company’s revenues and is growing due to increasing military contracts.

Mini Micro Stencil had a strong expertise in 2D Computer Aided Design (CAD) work, allowing them to perform some design work in-house. However, for 3D design work, Gary and his team sought outside resources. Unfortunately, the lead time for outside contractors to perform this work was several days; and Gary had no control over the timing or quality of the work. Gary realized an opportunity to increase profitability and quality control as well as reduce customer lead times by improving his team’s internal 3D design expertise, allowing them to expand their Additive Manufacturing proficiency for producing tooling needed for their rework services.

In April 2022, Mini Micro Stencil engaged CMTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Services (AMTS) Program to help its employees become more proficient in using 3D design software and Additive Manufacturing. CMTC instructors provided classroom instruction on the use of the OnShape program and ensured practical applications of the software by offering opportunities for students to design fixtures. In addition, CMTC provided Design for Additive Manufacturing training to help Mini Micro Stencil understand how to utilize Advanced Manufacturing tools such as 3D printing to produce tooling and products in-house in less time than traditional manufacturing or outsourced manufacturing. Finally, CMTC provided an evaluation of the financial impact and improvement opportunities by incorporating Advanced Manufacturing into the company’s operations.

As a result of the project, Mini Micro Stencil purchased a new CAD station for use of the OnShape 3D software for $2,000 and an updated 3D printer to produce jigs, fixtures, and other tools for contract rework services for $700. Mini Micro Stencil also expects to purchase a $5,000 MakerBot in the next 12 months to increase their in-house Additive Manufacturing capabilities. With the expertise and training provided by CMTC, Mini Micro Stencil is able to deliver 3D designs in house, reducing each design’s lead time by one week. The increased productivity and shorter lead times offered to Mini Micro Stencil’s customers is expected to increase their revenue by $10,000 in the next 12 months and allow them to retain $10,000 in business that may have otherwise been lost to competitors with shorter lead times. Mini Micro Stencil estimates they will save approximately $10,000 in contracted services and purchased goods due to the increased in-house capabilities to produce and design products. Mini Micro Stencil expects to invest $10,000 in new products and processes, $2,000 in additional workforce development, and $2,500 in other areas of their business to capitalize on their expanded Advanced Manufacturing capabilities. If sales increases are realized, Gary expects to be able to hire one new employee, growing his team of four to a team of five.

Find out more about CMTC at cmtc.com.

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