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Production Heats Up with Better Automation, Cybersecurity

cybersecurity with a digital lock
Credit: iStock/MF3d

Calienté LLC provides high quality, innovative heating solutions to help businesses lower costs. Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with around 25 employees, Calienté offers both custom and standard parts, using a worldwide set of design and supply partners. Five years ago, Calienté made the strategic decision to apply its innovative thermal expertise to products for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Today, it is one of the leading suppliers of thermal target systems to the U.S. military.

When Calienté began supplying products to the DoD, the company faced two challenges. One was to automate data processing to save costs and improve quality control, and the other was to meet cybersecurity requirements for defense contractors. The company turned to the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership, part of the MEP National NetworkTM, for assistance with both issues.

Purdue MEP has been very helpful, especially since we’re a small business. It means a lot to have that resource available to us. We always feel like we’re punching up.  —Mike Kelly, President

Purdue MEP partnered with Purdue University Fort Wayne and the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness (IN-Mac) program to identify new competitive technology for Calienté. A professor of electrical and computer engineering technology from Purdue University, along with a Purdue Ph.D. student, worked on automating the company’s antiquated data processing system. Previously, different systems each had their own separate server. With Purdue MEP’s assistance, the company rewrote all the programs and linked them to one server.

The technology adoption project enabled automated data logging on the manufacturing floor and integrated solutions for work-in-process to improve part tracking. It streamlined operations, improved quality control, and led to an increase in sales. The company is using more automation without losing employees and is more efficient. "It has helped us troubleshoot much better when we have a problem,” said James Blake, director of engineering for Calienté. "It’s saved us countless hours, and the great thing is that now we can write our own programs for doing that."

Next, Purdue MEP connected Calienté with industry leading experts in cybersecurity to provide a detailed gap analysis of the company’s protocols and procedures according to DoD requirements. Together, they mapped out a detailed action plan on the steps needed to be compliant with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), as well as the tools to manage the project effectively and efficiently. The cybersecurity compliance project protected one quarter of the company’s business revenue and averted operational losses in money and client goodwill that could have resulted from an information breach.

Results

  • Increased sales by $150,000
  • Protected 25 percent of business revenue from DoD
  • Retained jobs while using automation to improve efficiency

Could your company benefit from assistance with cybersecurity requirements? Connect with your local MEP Center for more information.

 

The Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership is the official representative of the MEP National Network in Indiana. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. The MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico

About the author

Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) provides high value, affordable solutions to help businesses increase profitability. As advocates for Indiana's thousands of manufacturers, our...

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