Your Vision. Our Resources.
ProductWorks@SVHEC is the manufacturing resource that brings your vision to life. Industrial partners and entrepreneurial start-ups collaborate with our team in an innovative and efficient product development environment. From design planning and prototyping to testing and small production runs, ProductWorks is your one-stop-shop where technology, creativity and industry insight connect.
ProductWorks Case Studies
World renowned piano craftsman Steinway & Sons engaged ProductWorks to program its new Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) routers, and complete the post-foundry process machining on several of their grand and upright piano frames. ProductWorks’ advanced abilities in Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Machining (CAD/CAM) allowed Steinway to increase piano production, increase sales, upgrade machinery, implement more modern manufacturing techniques, and better function within the world of digital manufacturing.
Stewart Topp, owner of Topp Line Incorporated, reached out to ProductWorks to help create a new stapling tool named “The Blind Stapler,” which could revolutionize the cabinet making industry by allowing craftsmen to attach a face frame to a cabinet box within seconds. ProductWorks worked with Topp on product design, prototyping, and limited production runs. Topp was able to use information derived from the prototype to apply for a patent from the U.S. Patent Office.
When a group of architecture students at Virginia Tech needed to bring a design to life, they turned to ProductWorks. Led by Professor Kay Edge, Virginia Tech College of Architecture & Design students designed a train-viewing platform for the city of Radford using Cross Laminated Timbers or CLTs, a sustainable building material that has been used for many years in Europe and Canada, but not as much in the United States. ProductWorks was tasked with producing and pressing CLTs using southern yellow poplar to create The New River Train Observatory, which now provides an attractive, sustainable observation deck along the banks of the New River in Radford.
Continuing a successful run of producing beautiful, custom trophies, ProductWorks produced Pinnacle Award Trophies for the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD). In addition to manufacturing the trophies in ProductWorks’ advanced machining center, staff reached out to Virginia Tech’s Department of Sustainable Bio Materials to produce custom packaging for the trophies.
The International Woodworking Fair (IWF) is held every other year in Atlanta. A Design Emphasis Award is given to advanced-level design students who excel in various categories, such as Occasional Furniture, and Seating. The winners receive beautifully curved solid wood trophy designed by the late Sam Maloof. Because IWF had a limited supply of the Maloof trophies, they approached ProductWorks to re-create the iconic award.
When the team at Virginia International Raceway wanted a custom trophy produced for the Oak Tree Grand Prix/Tudor United Sportscar Championship weekend, they came to the staff at ProductWorks. The R&D team was honored with the request to design and produce a trophy for one of the largest races at the nation’s premier road course.
Advances in Surgical Tool
Surgical correction of pectus excavatum was a complex and somewhat brutal procedure until Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) surgeon Donald Nuss developed a minimally invasive technique to correct it in the 1990s. In the Nuss Procedure, which is now used around the world, the surgeon threads a curved metal bar under the sternum to push it out into a normal position. The bar is then anchored to the ribs and remains in place for approximately two years so the chest wall can harden in its new position. Then the bar is removed during a second surgery. To solve a manufacturing problem which did not allow the original tool to be autoclaved (heated to high temperatures), the team engaged ProductWorks to create a tool component that could be autoclaved and thus reused for additional patients.