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"We work very hard at doing everything possible to keep the final product faithful to the promise of the concept – all the while preserving manufacturing efficiencies.
Kent Davidson - Design Director

What is it about?
Sanmina engaged Advanta for industrial and mechanical design. Samnima-SCI is a large global design and contract manufacturing company head-quartered in Fremont, California. For 3M and others, we helped them deliver a complete product and manufacturing solution.

Food borne pathogens are a real threat to public health. The 3M Molecular Detection System offers a unique, reliable, and rapid method to detect these pathogens. The primary environments for concern are food manufacturing facilities. Advanta, with 3M and Sanmina-SCI, designed a product that delivers a quick and easy way to detect pathogens, thus preventing illness. The 3M Molecular Detection System is powered by an innovative combination of unique technologies — Isothermal DNA Amplification and Bioluminescence detection. It provides a solution that is fast, accurate, easy-to-use, and affordable. For the enclosure of this product, from concept to files ready for production tooling, Advanta delivered the industrial and mechanical design.

Bringing great products to market requires the vision and skill of many people. It was a privilege to work directly with 3M's project management team to understand their vision and to collaborate with the talented people at Sanmina-SCI. To this collaborative product development team, Advanta brought product design skill, development bandwidth, and prototype coordination.

Phase one of the program entailed concept exploration to create a look and feel for the new product. The key was to start with a solid understanding of the desired product features, the environment, and the product's place in 3M's portfolio. The completed deliverables of the concept phase were photorealistic renderings and simple models to show volumes and illustrate key features.


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Seeing is believing; Touching is reality 
Three concepts were strong contenders for selection. To aid the decision, physical models that looked like the product were made. They were simply machined and painted blocks, but from the outside, they looked like the real thing. This technique is fast and really helps clients see, feel, touch, and walk around a potential product design before they commit the resources to completing development. To meet a key deadline, we were able to provide these models in a hurry.

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 "When circumstances called for it, we have moved mountains...and moved them fast!"
Patrick Boutet - Project Lead & Product Designer


Go Fast Young Designers!
Once a concept was selected for development, the challenge was beating the clock. Advanta was engaged to complete the mechanical design, produce enclosure prototypes, and source and manage production tooling. The Advanta team focused on providing a mechanical design for all the visible components and some sub-systems from the concept right through to the first article injection moulded parts.

As the project advanced, several generations of prototypes were developed, each exploring particular details and each getting closer and closer to a complete product – both inside and out. To ensure details were right, we prototyped often. To meet the demanding schedule, we often worked two design shifts so that we could make the required adjustments and cycle new prototypes back for approval in 24-48 hours.




Preserving Design Intent
Sometimes difficult challenges arise on a design in whichtrade-offs and compromises are made to get a product from a concept to something that can be made. Often these trade-offs are in the form of visual compromises that leave the final product short of the promise of the concept. Similar to what happens in the auto industry - A production car almost never looks exactly like its predecessor concept car.

Preserving design intent happens primarily at the front end by choosing production techniques, shapes, and materials that are well-suited to complement one another. Even with good preparatory work, though, difficulties can arise that may necessitate changes. At Advanta, we work very hard to do everything possible to keep the final product faithful to the promise of the concept, all the while preserving manufacturing efficiencies. This is where a lot of creativity comes into play. Often we will provide a mechanical design that preserves the visual value of the concept, or we will function as advisors to a client's internal mechanical design team to ensure preservation of the design intent. In the latter case, this can be done by modeling an external surface model and attending follow-up meetings as detailed models evolve.


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  "...the 3M Molecular Detection System optimizes technicians' time and productivity, improving bottom lines, protecting brands, and ensuring public health."
Francine Savage, Vice president and general manager, 3M Food Safety.

A picture is worth 1,000 words; a Video can save $1,000's of dollars.
At Advanta, we bring the most value to our customers by doing two things: listening to them and developing designs for them. Writing reports is not one of these two items. We have found that when we test our designs and prototypes, shooting a quick video of the process communicates very clearly and only takes minutes. During the recording, we comment on particular issues and post them on our private video network. No matter where our clients are on the globe, we capture important development issues to enable decision making. Clients get instant access, and we immediately get back to using the budget to create something else. Clients can watch the videos as many times as needed, and they can easily share the important highlights with colleagues. Instead of writing reports, we can get back to developing new designs.


 "Video reporting - it is way more effective that a written report. Much better speed, accuracy, and cost."
Patrick Boutet - Project Lead & Product Designer

Excellence at a distance
We have collaborated internally between two offices since the end of 90s, and we have pioneered the use of many systems for working at a distance, including instant messaging, web conferencing, and Smart boards. We have gotten very good at it. Since those initial steps, we have added collaboration tools and on-site replication of CAD data for our clients so they have instant access to the latest revisions.

Make no mistake, for larger projects sometimes a face-to-face meeting is just the right way to start off a business relationship. However, we have found that with today's distance collaboration tools used at key project junctures, remote communication can be a very effective way to work.


Quick Turnaround injection Molding Tools
As a group we have designed thousands of injection molded parts. This experience shows up in designs that are ready for tooling. We know our trade. For this project, the timeframes were very tight to complete designs, prototypes, and first shot part samples for testing.

Lining up the right vendors is critical, but more important than that is ensuring that they are prepared when the final files are ready. We ensure they are ready to implement fast. We make a point to insure that they know what is coming. Every detail is reviewed: gating, ejector location, parting lines, and Cam locations. We work it all out in advance. This strategy pays off handsomely as tooling generally only needs to be cut once.

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Material selection for Injection Molding
Selecting the right resin for an injection moulded part can be a bewildering choice. Our years of development experience have given us the familiarity to look at the right families of materials, and more importantly, we have developed the contacts with resin suppliers to get the expert input in selecting the optimal resin. Heat resistance, UV stability, flammability, impact strength, and chemical resistance are all factors affected by resin selection. For 3M, we did all the leg work to identify optimal materials. To top it off, we coordinated the production of color-matched material with all the desired properties. This custom material was ready in only three weeks, just in time for the first injection molding tests.


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