Approximately 35 inventors, researchers, product developers, and manufacturers, representing about 20 local companies, attended a national training program on Oct. 10 sponsored by FuzeHub, the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership center.
The Build4Scale Workshop, a free training program intended to help product developers accelerate their innovations’ path to production, was funded by a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
The Build4Scale Workshop focused on trying to help hardware innovators move their initial innovation or idea through to design, prototyping, and manufacturing, said Kim Lloyd, FuzeHub’s director of special projects. “The idea behind Build4Scale is to help companies and equip them with tools (they need) in order to get them from wherever they're at in their stage to that next level. “
National expert Dan Radomski, who helped design the Build4Scale curriculum with the U.S. DOE, served as lead instructor for the local training.
“Many people, believe it or not, come up with a new physical product, but a lot of them don't have manufacturing experience,” he said. “So we have people with manufacturing experience here that are part of the community that support manufacturers working with startup companies and early-stage companies, lending them that expertise.”
Participants brought their prototypes and proof of concepts and were guided through exercises, based on manufacturing principals, that showed them how they could reduce complexity, cut costs, and ensure that their final products were durable and reliable. Attendees learned how to design their products so that they could be assembled, packaged, and transported effectively, and left with knowledge they could use, moving forward, to improve their items and ultimately their sales and customer satisfaction. In addition, they now can leverage FuzeHub’s connections with manufacturers across the state who specialize in product design, engineering, and testing to help them get their items out of the lab and into mass production.
FuzeHub partnered with its regional NY MEP counterpart, Buffalo-based Insyte Consulting, to deliver Build4Scale locally and ensure that cleantech startups receive necessary support on their pathway to manufacturing. Other event partners include Launch NY, Western New York Incubators Network, and University at Buffalo Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships.
“The ultimate goal is to take these ideas and make sure that they're also being designed, engineered, tested, and manufactured here in New York,” said Radomski. “That way, not only is the benefit (to) that company developing new products, creating economic value with job creation, but it's also creating economic value to the supply chain in New York.”