Learning to manufacture locally

On the Provail factory floor

provailone

Yesterday Phil and I made a visit to Provail, a local non-profit that does manufacturing, assembly, and fulfillment for a variety of clients, including Boeing, Cascade Designs, and DOD. Provail trains and employs people with disabilities, matching them with well-paying manufacturing jobs that mesh with their skills.

We learned about Provail from one of the many people who have taken an interest in Shift Labs and offered their help. We love the idea of doing local manufacturing, and we also love the idea of working with a social enterprise.

provail2Machines are beautiful

I visited their facility on the north end of Seattle a couple weeks ago, and this week Phil and went back together to have a design for manufacturing conversation with their staff. We’re working on the housing for the Drip Clip, and we want to make sure we’re aligning our CAD designs with simplicity of manufacture and assembly.

We’re actually super excited about learning to do small-batch manufacturing efficiently and cost-effectively. Part of our mission at Shift is to figure out how to do distributed manufacturing in a scalable way, and we think Provail will be an important partner on that journey.

Also, factories are just cool.

Introducing our DripClip

Please support our Indiegogo campaign!

We’re working hard on lining up all the pieces to produce our first prototype in volume for field testing. The Drip Clip is an alternative to expensive infusion pumps, and it’s a way to get precision measurement for IV bags.

dripclipfromblog

The idea for the Drip Clip came from a physician who works with Doctors Without Borders. We’ve discussed it with lots of docs who work around the world, and we’ve done a demo for surgeons, pediatric nurses, and anesthesiologists in Kenya.

We went through a few revisions of the prototype, improving the robustness and reliability. Our bench testing system (below) has been a key part of our engineering, and we’ve worked to improve robustness and reliability.

testrigDripclipfromblog

Prototypes and test rig

Our next step is to get it into the field and see how it performs.

You can help make this happen by supporting us on IndieGoGo! Or, just watch the video describing our process.