Manufacturing Rocket Pitch for Solutions – October 26

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.

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

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
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 2    Phil offers a MiniMole demonstration for
the panel

Figure 3 Rich offers
PCB Advice to Phil

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

Figure 5 Marty takes
a closer look at the nose of the Unmanned Maritime Vehicle

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 6 Rory
describes the Tertill’s challenges to the panel

Figure 7 Marty needs
a closer look

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:

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