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Our Quantum Leap: The MPF Story

September 28, 2021
 •  6:43 pm

For the past 27 years, MPF has been pushing the envelope, innovating and refining our manufacturing processes to better serve our clients.

 

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”
-Goethe

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”
-Bob Dylan

 

After receiving our ISO 9001:015 certification last month, many of us who had been at MPF for a substantial amount of time paused to reflect on how much we’ve grown as a company since we first opened our doors in 1994.

In 1994, when Art Dunton and a group of fellow engineers founded MPF to capitalize on their proprietary ceramic-to-sealing technology, the company primarily served the industry of aerospace engineering.

Today, we serve Fortune 500 companies in industries across the board—Semiconductor tools to Analytical and Science Systems—offering them the latest in the manufacture of UHV viewports, electrical feedthroughs, UHV breaks, and power feedthroughs, among all other precision vacuum components.

In the beginning, MPF had 10 employees; today, we have more than 48 employees—it’s tough to keep track of precisely how many because it seems as though we’re hiring someone new every day to accommodate our considerable growth. 

At the same time, even though MPF has grown by leaps and bounds, we still, in many important ways, remain a family company. In truth, the employees of MPF are a study in diversity: while still having a few family members in manufacturing and operations departments, we have been joined over the years by a number of  degreed professionals as well as a host of seasoned technicians.

A few years after MPF’s inception, we moved into a 8,000 sq ft facility, which grew into over 14,000 sq ft/, allowing us to commence building our now standard product line of UHV viewports, electrical feedthroughs, etc. MPF now resides on a 55-acre campus in the Greater Greenville, South Carolina area, which has grown alongside MPF. 

Our commitment to innovation in ceramic-to-metal sealing technology has been matched by our commitment to refining our manufacturing processes. Achieving ISO 9001 certification was merely the first step in our emergence as an industry leader in the construction of precision vacuum components.

We are actively pursuing DFARS compliance (the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement [or DFARS] refers to a set of restrictions for the raw materials used by the US defense industry to protect from an overdependence on foreign supply sources), as well as ITAR compliance, both of which would enable us to expand our operations to United States defense industry companies and contractors.

MPF’s recent penchant for collecting certifications is intended to make our processes as transparent as possible. For years, we have been at the forefront of component integrity on multiple fronts. 

From a design standpoint, we utilize the latest software from Solid Works, Release 18. Our manufacturing capabilities start with more than a dozen vacuum furnaces, which undergo multiple runs per day and can accommodate a multitude of different dimensions for our vacuum components. Our facility has expanded to include multiple leak testers and TIG welding stations, giving us an enormous amount of manufacturing capacity. Additionally, MPF’s introduction of laminar flow hoods not only reduces particulate contamination in manufacturing, but also provides our employees the safety they require.

Every piece that we make—from power feedthroughs to UHV breaks—now undergoes a rigorous testing process. Our quality assurance tools and capabilities are extremely comprehensive: we offer metal detection through x-ray technology, high pressure, high-voltage, and cryogenic (to -196C) testing. Moreover, we have a wide variety of high-tech testing equipment from (multiple) Digital Microscopes, Keyence CMM and Optical Comparator Tools, along with numerous lathes and milling machines for dimensional fine-tuning.

The above underlines the considerable progress we’ve made since 1994 to our current design, manufacturing, and testing procedures. Our quality control processes have also been vastly enhanced over this time: when you buy components from MPF, you’re not buying boxed parts from the shelf. From the factory floor, our components are transported in plastic travel totes, reducing particulate contamination; we also vacuum pack all our components in protective clam shells.

Given our sophistication and maturation as a company, we have been able, throughout it all, to maintain our humanity. Our clients can still reach an actual human being via the phone, our Chat line  or even a Zoom/Teams meeting telcon to  discuss anything related to our design process or purchase order. 

We don’t know for certain how the next 27 years at MPF will pan out, but we remain committed to doing our best to ensure our current and future customers receive the best components for their UHV environments—and, as important, that we provide the same level of service as family company that has grown to include a lot of new members.

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