Sweeten Up Your Manufacturing Process with the APL

November 29, 2016
Sweeten Up Your Manufacturing Process with Universal’s Advanced Process Lab (APL)


Most folks know that we have a world-class lab (APL) that’s filled with really smart people and cutting-edge technology and equipment. But, do you really know what the APL does and how it can help you? Probably not!


To help you understand what the APL does, let’s use the example of a lollipop (which can either be a printed circuit board or a product):

What kind of lollipop do you need to build?

Build a Lollipop from Scratch


You just received an order from Sweetmart for 1,000 lollipops but you don’t know how to build them. Sure you know that lollipops are made from sugar and oil, but how exactly do you build this lollipop?



The APL can provide a recipe for manufacturing success!


Well, the APL team can help you by providing the complete “recipe” for building your lollipop, such as the right ingredients, mixed the right way and baked at the correct temperature, as well as the process to assemble the final lollipop.  And, the APL can even recommend what equipment and materials you’ll need to build your lollipop within your budget. By following this recipe for success, you’ll be making lollipops in no time!


Build Lollipops Better & Faster


Sweetmart has increased their Lollipop order from 1,000 to 2,000 lollipops a month. How do you increase your lollipop production volumes to meet this customer demand?


Candy Manufacturing

Taste the sweeter side of manufacturing with a process that works for you!


The APL team can help speed up your lollipop production by reviewing your manufacturing process and making recommendations on how to make it more efficient. For example, let’s say the bottleneck in your process is that the candy is hardening too quickly, before you can get the stick set. This causes breakage and also requires several steps to complete. In this situation, the APL might recommend that you prefab the lollipop form with a channel for the stick. Since the stick and candy are set at the same time it would eliminate the breakage and speed up the process. By eliminating bottlenecks and doing things more efficiently you’ll be able to increase production to meet your order!


Build Lots of Lollipops, or Just a Few


It’s late fall, and Sweetmart has increased its lollipop order to 10,000 lollipops, which they need in 4 weeks’ time in order to meet the holiday rush. You don’t want to disappoint your customer and say no, but there is no way your factory can ramp this quickly to handle this order. What to do?



Build easy with ATAS provided by the APL!


Well the APL’s ATAS (Advanced Technology Assembly Services) team can handle your extra-capacity demand with a factory full of the right equipment, and the expertise needed to manufacture and deliver as many lollipops as you need – when you need them! Got too many lollipops to deliver? You can lean on the APL as a partner for all of your short-term demand manufacturing needs.


Or…  Let’s say that Sweetmart wants a small run of a new flavor of lollipop to test in certain markets. It’s not cost-effective for you to tie up your factory to build this small lot. Who do you turn to?


Again, the APL’s ATAS team can help with prototyping needs and can manufacture the lollipops to fulfill your customer’s small lot request.


Your Lollipop has Issues!


Sweetmart’s customers are reporting lollipop breakage and getting complaints that the lollipops taste bad.  Sweetmart is not happy about this and are ready to cancel their order. How can you fix this?



What’s wrong with your lollipop?


The APL’s team of experts (remember those very smart people we mentioned earlier) can evaluate exactly why your lollipop is breaking and tasting bad. Through the failure analysis process they can determine the root cause of the problem. They can use their high-tech equipment to evaluate the chemical make-up of the sugar, view the bonds of the sugar molecules under a high-powered microscope, as well as perform other tests, such as high-temperature materials testing. The combination of the above will allow the APL to quickly determine what went wrong with your lollipop and make recommendations on how to fix it. This may be something as simple as adjusting your oven baking time, or something much more serious such as contaminated sugar provided by your vendor. (In this case, they can give you the ammunition you need to go after your sugar vendor to correct the problem.) The final failure analysis report will allow you to assure Sweetmart that you know what the problems are, and to put a plan in place to immediately correct these issues.


There’s a New Sugar in Town


Sweetmart has asked you to incorporate a new type of sugar called Sugarx2  into your lollipop manufacturing process. Sugarx2 contains pheromones which draws people to the product and will supposedly entice them to buy more lollipops. You’ve never worked with Sugarx2  and you’re not sure how to incorporate this into your manufacturing process. What are the risks if you use too much sugar? Do you need any special type of equipment to work with this new type of sugar? Who do you turn to?



New Sugar? No Problem!


Lucky for you, the APL hosts an industry consortium made up of companies that study new sugars and other ingredients, and the processes required to work with them. This consortium undertakes research projects that can help you understand how to work with Sugarx2,   including the risks and benefits of using it in your manufacturing process. By becoming a member of the consortium, you’ll have access to all of the information you’ll need to integrate Sugarx2   into your lollipop manufacturing process. You’ll also take part in cutting-edge research into any new ingredients coming into the market. Joining the APL’s consortium is a win-win for both you and your customer.


To recap:
  • The APL can help you build a lollipop from scratch by providing the recipe and process
  • Build your lollipops better & faster by having the APL evaluate your processes and eliminate bottlenecks
  • Lean on the APL as your partner for short-term demand. We can build lots of lollipops quickly or we can help with small lot prototyping needs
  • The APL’s failure analysis process can tell you why your lollipop has issues and how to fix them, as well as protect you against vendors delivering poor quality ingredients
  • Joining the APL’s Consortium can give you access to research on how to integrate and use new ingredients in your lollipop manufacturing process


No matter where you are in your journey to build the best lollipop, the APL can make it sweet for you!



Learn more about the APL today by visiting our website at https://www.uic.com/solutions/apl/



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