MakeFluidics DPL: Distributed Pilot Line tool

MakeFluidics Distributed Pilot Line (DPL) tool suite is a dedicated web application to support the european microfluidics market with distributed manufacturing resources and provide affordable complex microfluidics devices.
2017-08-29

The DPL tool establishes manufacturing alignment in the microfluidics industry between distributed foundries using heterogeneous materials and fabrication technologies, whilst ensuring the implementation of the design guidelines (when applicable).

MakeFluidics DPL targets companies involved in the design and manufacturing of a microfluidics device or application for their clients. The DPL tool suite content:

  • Building Blocks (products) and services repository
  • Assembly Flow
  • Production planner to run the quotation process
  • Production supervisor to run the production in the distributed pilot line

Building Blocks and Services repository

Listed products and services on Makefluidics by manufacturers and other organizations involved in microfluidics projects are available on the DPL repository. Note: Building Blocks refer to products that are compliant with the Makefluidics design guidelines.

A company in charge of a new microfluidics project will be able to browse the DPL repository to evaluate and select appropriate building blocks, accessories and services. Technical details can be gathered offline from manufacturers and suppliers when needed.

Assembly Flow

A design kit tool compatible with the involved technologies can be used to define and validate the design including the technical details and steps required to produce parts, assemble and process them. Note: Phoenix Design Kit tool is a recommended tool for microfluidics projects. It is compatible with the MakeFluidics DPL as it has the ability to submit the "assembly flow" definition to the DPL.

Once the assembly flow of the microfluidics device is available, it must be entered on the DPL tool suite by the company. The DPL provides access to the company's clients, projects or products as illustrated hereafter:
Makefluidics DPL

Details about each step include a name, description, link with previous steps in the flow, boundary conditions, technical input parameters or values, and expected output parameters. Below is an illustration of an assembly flow with a final assembly step involving a laser print on the Fluidics Circuit Board (FCB) with a condition on the temperature (max: 49°C).
Makefluidics DPL assembly flow, step details

The resulting assembly flow can be reviewed in a tree graph mode:
Makefluidics DPL assembly flow, step graph

Production planner and quotation/RFQ process

When the assembly flow i.e. definition of steps to manufacture the final microfluidics device has been completed, the first production can be launched. In the screenshot below, the company enters details of the first production plan with the target quantity, lead time and cost to fulfil the client's needs.
Makefluidics DPL new production plan

MakeFluidics DPL tool provides a comprehensive support of the RFQ process including:

  • Centralised messaging and notification system with contacted manufacturers.
  • Forms for contacted manufacturers to submit quotes and details.
  • Provide specific values on conditions or parameters for a given manufacturer within a step, e.g.a company may request to apply a different condition on a max temperature.
  • Logistic details support with delivery addresses.
  • Dashboards and summaries to review the final figures (quantity, lead time, cost) based on the current selection.
  • Features and tools to maintain consistency throughout the steps.
  • Step graph mode review. 

Below is an illustration of a manufacturer contacted to carry the final printing step, having steps 2 and 3 completed i.e. the manufacturers have been selected.
Makefluidics DPL microfluidics production planner RFQ quotation process

The user can review the current selection of manufacturers alongside their respectives agreed quantity and lead time to process each step:
Makefluidics DPL microfluidics production planner RFQ quotation process steph mode

Production supervisor, distributed pilot line

Having confirmed the final selection of manufacturers including quantities, lead times, technical details, the manufacturing process can start.

This is managed via MakeFluidics DPL Production Supervisor screen. The Distributed Pilot Line tool provides a complete set of details as identified by experts involved in Microfluidics projects and operations to control and follow the manufacturing of a given production plan:

  • Centralised messaging system with selected manufacturers.
  • Notifications to start a step including all technical details to take into account so that the step can be processed in a consistent manner.
  • Forms for contacted manufacturers to provide a status update such as a delivery notification, step completion, courrier tracking number, etc.
  • Review the conditions and technical parameters that apply to each step.
  • Logistics details support.
  • Dashboards and summaries to review the agreed and achieved quantity and lead time.
  • Features and tools to maintain consistency throughout the steps.
  • Step graph mode review. 

The following screenshot illustrates the DPL production supervisor for a running production:
Makefluidics DPL microfluidics production supervisor distributed pilot line

The alternative step graph mode is also available:
Makefluidics DPL microfluidics production supervisor distributed pilot line step graph

At the end of production, traceability and history details such as part IDs will remain available for any future production on the same device or a new one. In the following product overview screen, the company can start an additional production plan should a new series be requested.
Makefluidics DPL microfluidics product overview

Videos

Demonstration of Makefluidics DPL tool has been posted on our Youtube channel in several parts:

  1. Create a Building block, product in the DPL Repository
  2. Create a product, microfluidics device in the DPL