2009 Innovation Insight Awards: Making money while saving the environment
MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT BY A MANUFACTURER ¦ SECOND PLACE After receiving a painfully large water bill, Wally Berry began looking for a way to stop his toilets from leaking. Roughly four years later, Berry founded a company called Siphon Flush that now markets the first anti-leak toilet flapper. The product was formally introduced at the Water Smarts Innovation conference in Las Vegas in Oc...
MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT BY A MANUFACTURER
After receiving a painfully large water bill, Wally Berry began looking for a way to stop his toilets from leaking. Roughly four years later, Berry founded a company called Siphon Flush that now markets the first anti-leak toilet flapper.
The product was formally introduced at the Water Smarts Innovation conference in Las Vegas in October 2008. Since then, Frisco, Texas-based Siphon Flush has taken 17,000 orders for the product, and the company expects to record $20 million in sales in its first full fiscal year.
The U.S. EPA estimates that a silent leak in a toilet can waste 500 gallons of water a day. For addressing the problem, Siphon Flush has captured second place in the category Most Innovative Product by a Manufacturer in MBT's 2009 Innovation Insight Awards competition.
While Berry was the inspiration behind Siphon Flush, its development resulted from collaboration with MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network), a Cleveland, Ohio-based organization that offers business consulting, product development, and business incubation services.
The MAGNET staff used a software solution called Goldfire Innovator from Invention Machine. The solution helped product designers identify the root cause of water leakage, analyze technology trends and materials, and play out the consequences of design features. This process ensured the validity of the concept and anticipated future failure points.
"Goldfire helped us blend unique ideas from various fields, including life-sciences technology that we adopted into the design," says Dave Pierson, senior design engineer at MAGNET. "It also allowed us to substantially reduce development time and finish significantly under anticipated product delivery cost."
That surpassed Berry's initial goal of not flushing any more money down the drain.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.