Helping industry save $$$
Sentrinsic, a GRA VentureLab company, is helping industry save energy and reduce costs. The company developed and sells “special sensor technology for managing fluids running through heavy duty industrial pumps in large scale industrial systems.” Based on technology originated at Georgia Tech, the company was propelled by early GRA VentureLab grants and an investment from the GRA Venture Fund, LLC. The Atlanta Business Chronicle featured the company’s success in last week’s edition. See below.
Sentrinsic sensors equal energy, cash savings
By Doug DeLoach
With the cost of doing business on the rise in many industries, energy conservation and savings have becomee more critical than ever — a fact that’s spurred one local company to carve out a market niche.
Started in 2008 by three Georgia Tech graduates, Atlanta-based Sentrinsic Inc. developed a special sensor technology for managing fluids running through heavy-duty industrial pumps in large-scale industrial systems.
The energy savings resulting from implementing Sentrinsic’s sensors can be as much as 50 percent or more, depending on the application. In an industrial setting, the level of savings performance can amount to hundreds of thousands — even millions of dollars over time.
Company founders CEO Mike Orndorff, Chief Operating Officer David Beck and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Haihong Zhu met at Tech. The two MBA students were looking for a project with commercial potential: Zhu’s modeling program was deemed a likely candidate.
As the project progressed, Zhu’s program for calculating physical properties and effects of certain materials proved too costly to produce. However, the group decided a new type of sensor developed for the project would be relatively easy and cost-effective to manufacture.
The sensor became the flagship product of a new company, which was entered into the 2005 Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition/ After taking first place in the Most Fundable category and earning a $15,000 service package, Sentrinsic was on its way.
In the beginning, Sentrinsic encountered entrenched and conservative product development companies, which were reluctant to adopt the Sentrinsic sensor.
“They would rather endure the headache of working with a product that might be inferior in terms of its performance rather than risk their reputation on a startup,” Orndorff said. The solution was to partner up with IDEX Corp., one of the largest and best-known industry firms, which was open to exploring the potential benefits of the Sentrinsic technology.
The two companies worked out a developmental partnership. Sentrinsic’s patented position feedback system is now embedded in IDEX’s energy-efficient, AirVantage products.
“We originally chose to work with Sentrinsic because we recognized their expertise in control systems and new product development,” said Mark McCourt, director of innovation at IDEX. “We’ve continued to work with them because they’ve delivered on their promises.”
“Another factor in Sentrinsic’s success was early assistance and mentoring through VentureLab, a Georgia Rsearch Alliance program. “Sentrinsic is somewhat of a poster child for us,” said Mike Cassidy, GRA CEO and president.
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