In 1960, Solo Inc., formed its first overseas American subsidiary located in Newport News, Virginia and today employs approximately 100 staff members. Solo offers a variety of agricultural equipment for spraying, pumping, and sawing; including residential and industrial grade chemical sprayers, cut-off saws, mist blowers, and air blowers. They also manufacture and sell parts with other accessories through a network of more than 1,000 dealers. Their global brand has been built and established on quality and reliability.
Solo purchases many product assembly and accessory components from outside suppliers. Off-the-shelf parts from key sources tend to reduce manufacturing costs and capitalize on their individual manufacturing expertise, thus ensuring the highest quality and reliability. Suddenly, Solo found itself in a manufacturing quandary with the loss of the availability of a long-time commodity – a discontinued chemical sprayer nozzle-head. Since no other suppliers were found for a similar nozzle to meet Solo’s quality and performance requirements, the alternative solution was to manufacture its own.
Solo approached the Old Dominion University Business Gateway-Technology Applications Center (ODU BG-TAC) for help and advice. The immediate solution was to reverse engineer the current nozzle geometry and function. An initial reverse engineering study was performed that led to proposed design modifications/changes to aid manufacturability and creation of a set of manufacturing-ready blueprints. Reverse engineering is the process of extracting functional and/or design information and reproducing it based on the resultant information. Oftentimes, this process not only duplicates desired results, but provides enhancements for improved function, reliability, and cost effectiveness. The ODU BG-TAC is a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) service delivery partner of GENEDGE, which is the designated MEP affiliate for Virginia.