Fort Wayne Metals

Fort Wayne, Indiana


Since 1971, Fort Wayne Metals has been a manufacturer of medical grade wire of various alloys for use in life-saving medical devices and applications.

Situation

In the process of developing a new product, Fort Wayne Metals (FWM) encountered a need to rapidly and cost-effectively construct novel testing equipment. After some research, the company had interest in using Raspberry Pi as a low-cost and versatile electronics platform for these testing stations, but it lacked the necessary programming and systems architecture knowledge to be implemented immediately. FWM reached out to Purdue MEP for assistance with bringing this technology in-house and adapting it to the company’s needs.

Solution

Purdue MEP connected FWM with two professors from Purdue Fort Wayne to help distill their testing control and data collection needs into a design, while educating the company on certain design considerations along the way. They provided training on electronics principles and components, and aided substantially in the construction of the platform. In the end, FWM received a functional modular testing platform prototype to fulfill immediate testing needs while also serving as a “blueprint” for additional units. Additionally, FWM became acquainted with a variety of electronic components that facilitate the marriage of the low-cost Raspberry Pi with accessories and components normally reserved for industrial-grade controllers. This new familiarity will allow the reuse of these integrative components in future projects and achieve similar cost and time savings.

Results

Since the start of this project, FWM has added one rapidly-prototyped testing capability and has another in the works. The modular platform produced through the collaboration has afforded the company the ability to rapidly construct and run a variety of tests on our products. This has saved both time and money that would have been spent waiting on equipment commissioned from a third party, and has allowed FWM to maintain full control and flexibility in the design, functionality, and maintenance of the testing equipment. All of this helps to drastically reduce the development time, allowing FWM to get to market sooner.

“Working with Purdue MEP on this project has been a very positive experience. We were connected with two great professors, Dr. Guoping Wang and Dr. Zesheng Chen, from Purdue Fort Wayne. Immediately, the professors guided us through the design process, determining our needs and translating them into design requirements for the platform. They then helped us to source components to meet those requirements, and worked with us to integrate them with the Raspberry Pi to produce a functional system that Fort Wayne Metals can use for a variety of testing applications. 

“It quickly became apparent to me after embarking on this project that we would not have had the time or expertise to accomplish this task without the assistance of Dr. Wang and Dr. Chen. However, through the knowledge they shared and the discussions that were had along the way, I can say with confidence that our proficiency has been increased with regard to Raspberry Pi and electronic systems design in general. I fully intend for our department to further expand on the use of these low-cost electronics, like Raspberry Pi, to increase our capabilities and exponentially accelerate the rate of our developmental progress.”

Jack Davis, Product Development Engineer, Fort Wayne Metals 

 

NIST

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