3D-Printed Cap Giving W.Va. Business a Boost

HUNTINGTON —Established in 2014, Aridea Solutions provides clients with real-time environmental monitoring systems. The company's water quality monitoring system, for example, uses sensors to collect information directly from streams. The solar-powered system sends the data in real time to Aridea, which alerts the Charleston-based company when there is a problem with the quality of the water.

By using one of Aridea’s monitoring systems, clients avoid having to send an employee to a remote location to test the water, saving both time and money, said BJ Evans, who founded the company with Richard Wilbur III.

The company came to RCBI for assistance on the development of new product that will monitor the levels of chemicals used for water treatment. After receiving a grant from the Innovate WV initiative, the company worked with RCBI Engineer Ron Cabacar on the design of the cap that was then printed on the Dimension 1200es 3D Printer at RCBI.

Once installed, the cap will hold the electronics for the system that will monitor the chemicals in a tote. The information is sent to Aridea, which then relays it to the clients. The information lets clients know when the tote must be replenished or if the tote has been damaged.

“It gives them a full picture of their site from an environmental perspective,” Evans said.

Evans and Chris May, account executive, have shown the prototype to prospective customers and have already received orders for it. The company plans to patent the cap and begin production within the next six months, Evans said.

Products like the cap are expected to help Aridea grow over the next year from three full-time employees to 15.

The InnovateWV grant initiative allows companies to access specialized manufacturing technology assistance at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing – from the initial innovative concept through computer-aided design, reverse engineering, prototyping, fabrication and machining. Learn more about InnovateWV at www.rcbi.org/InnovateWV.