“Laboratory: A place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
“I’ve been designing electrical panels for over 20 years and our builders are the best I’ve ever worked with. I am proud of every panel we produce and I think our customers get a quality product.”
Jeff Sandrock - Design Engineering Manager
B&D spends an average of $2M per year on research and development (R&D) specific to variable frequency drives (VFDs), industrial controls, mechanical transmission, and cutting-edge topics in Industry 4.0 and machine learning (ML).
We started sixteen years ago with a folding table and a few engineers testing the programming of a VFD located on the floor. The escalation started as customers began asking us to test various ideas for system optimization and reliability improvements. By 2013, this led to the creation of a fully functional laboratory in Norcross. Before that time, building our designs had been outsourced to several firms around Georgia and Florida. After overcoming many challenges associated with schedules and quality, in 2016, we opted to bring the building and quality processes into the confines of the lab where our most seasoned design engineers were located. Today, in addition to R&D testing, we build over $3M in custom AC and DC drive systems for several industries—paper, plastics, mining, textiles, and irrigation, to name just a few within the breadth of our knowledge.
We grew so fast that we completed a $150K expansion to the lab in 2019.
Our chief motivation to begin testing products was simply that we wanted to support what we sell. We have vendor partners, but if we rely on them for primary customer support, we are no different from the folks selling parts online or in traditional ways. We rarely sell anything that we have not already used in a design, which means that one of our engineers can support the product from an experienced technical perspective. Through our extensive testing, we often know significantly more than factory tech support personnel.
Another important motivation was a desire to develop products that do not currently exist in the industrial space but that are in tremendous demand by end-users for a variety of reasons. This development may be designing an option card for an existing VFD, for example, or a complicated program inside a DC drive that controls a large magnet array. Every January, we create a list of developments and break down the design steps into quarterly sprints with an overarching goal in mind. At the end of the designated time, we either scale up the design to a real offering or table it for a later date, but the science is never far from our vision.