The MassTLC/MassRobotics/MassMEP team under the Advanced Manufacturing Futures Fund Program grant, funded by MassDevelopment, held our first “Manufacturing Rocket Pitch for Solutions” on 26 October 2016 at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub.
Our goal: to help robotics, IoT and hardware start-ups and scale-ups grow and commercialize their products by connecting them with the local manufacturers and supply chain – turning great ideas into great products Made in Massachusetts.
Our panel of experts with over 100 years of experience between them included:
· Bill Sullivan, FLEXcon
· Mark Smithers, Boston Engineering Corporation
· Marty Petraitis, Segue Manufacturing
· Craig Bovaird, Reliance Engineering and LSR Engineering
· Rich Breault, Lightspeed Manufacturing
Peter Russo from MassMEP moderated the panel – each panelist offered tips to startups about what they should know about manufacturing and discussed critical best practices. Advice included: Validate your product, understand what you are good at and find others for support in other areas, listen to the voice of the customer, look for loyal partners, don’t expect to make a profit on the first units sold…
Startup presentations by Phil Caruso (MiniMole), Sam Godin (Riptide) and Rory MacKean (Franklin Robotics) included discussion on manufacturing challenges.
Figure 1 Phil Caruso, Sam Godin, Rory MacKean, Peter Russo
Mini-Mole Robotic Floor Sweeper is a patent pending automatic hard floor cleaner that is smaller than any other automatic floor cleaner on the market. Named Innovative Technology of the Year in Consumer Tech at the 19th Annual MassTLC Leadership Awards, mini mole is 1” tall and 4” wide and gets under virtually all household furniture to remove accumulated dust, fur and other debris that collects under objects in the home. It’s unique upward-looking object sensor and small size allow it to focus on cleaning areas that are difficult or impossible to reach manually or with any other automatic floor cleaner.
Figure 3 Rich offers PCB Advice to Phil
Figure 2 Phil offers a MiniMole demonstration for the panel
Riptide Autonomous Solutions focuses on Unmanned Maritime Vehicle (UMV) development and production. This includes Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUV), Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUV), and Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV). Riptide is a small business entity poised for rapid growth and expansion focusing on the US Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA), and research institutions.
Figure 4 Sam getting advice from Craig
The team at Franklin Robotics is developing a robot that weeds home gardens. We have designed a solar powered, autonomous, self-sufficient robot named Tertill. It lives in the garden, and every day it charges itself in the sunlight, patrols the garden, avoids plants and obstacles, damages pre-emergent weeds before they surface, and cuts down post-emergent weeds. Friendliness and simplicity are designed in: setup requires only a fence around the garden, and small plastic collars around seedlings; no wires or beacons are necessary, there's no programming of any kind, and chemicals are no longer needed for weed control.
|Figure 7 Marty Needs a closer look|
Figure 6 Rory describes the Tertill's Challenge to the panel
There was lively and informative discussion between all startups and manufacturers. A special thanks to Peter Russo from MassMEP and our expert panel for their donated time and expertise!
And to our Host: