Rose-Hulman Ventures brings decades of engineering expertise to every project, but sometimes the best asset Rose-Hulman Ventures provides is fresh eyes.
That was the case when BorgWarner, a global auto parts and components maker based in Michigan, came calling.
BorgWarner was seeking a more efficient, yet easy-to-manufacture, stator for electric motors. Rather than work exclusively on the project in-house, the company turned to Rose-Hulman Ventures for a fresh perspective on an old challenge. Once given their parameters and goals, the team at Rose-Hulman Ventures, which included project manager Barry Davignon and student intern David Hughes, a then-senior biomedical engineering major, got to work and came up with designs and prototypes in just a few weeks.
“Stators are one of the more difficult parts to make,” says Andrew Dragon, an engineer with BorgWarner and Rose-Hulman alumnus who brought the project to Rose-Hulman Ventures in the spring of 2019. “They prototyped a couple of concepts and we got to see how they fit and what the difficulties were. It’s really nice what they came up with.”
The project highlighted several areas of strength at Rose-Hulman Ventures, including concept design, creativity, project flexibility, three-dimensional component drawings, 3D modeling, and 3D printing of component parts. The Rose-Hulman Ventures team also conducted weekly meetings with BorgWarner to keep the company apprised of what was happening.
In the end, the final result gave BorgWarner a new stator design that is functional, efficient and well suited for high-volume production, Dragon says.
“What they designed was very adaptable and very flexible,” he says. “But the biggest thing was the turnaround time. That was really great.”
Dragon graduated from Rose-Hulman with a degree in mechanical engineering in 2005. After graduation, he started his engineering career at Caterpillar and later at Remy International, which was acquired by BorgWarner in 2015.
The team at Rose-Hulman Ventures was “super easy to work with,” Dragon says. “They were dependable and flexible. They made it easy for us to change direction.”