Bearing Analytics, ExDie Cleaning Technologies claim Purdue's 27th annual Burton Morgan Business Plan Competition

February 19, 2014  

Bearing Analytics system

Purdue electrical and computer engineering doctoral student Anurag Garg on Tuesday (Feb. 18) demonstrates how Bearing Analytics' system works while team member Lokesh Gupta, also an ECE doctoral student, looks on. Their business plan presentation claimed the top $30,000 prize in the Gold Division during the 27th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition in Discovery Park. The company is developing a patent-pending sensor that monitors the performance of bearings and alerts workers to premature bearing failure by measuring temperature and vibration changes. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An analytics sensor for predicting bearing failure in machinery and a company developing an alternative method for removing excess material during the aluminum extrusion process were the big winners Tuesday (Feb. 18) at Purdue University's $100,000 Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition.

Bearing Analytics won $30,000 as the top presenter in the Gold Division for graduate and undergraduate student teams from any discipline, while ExDie Cleaning Technologies claimed the $20,000 first prize in the Black Division for undergraduate students.

Led by Purdue electrical and computer engineering doctoral students Anurag Garg and Lokesh Gupta, Bearing Analytics is developing a patent-pending sensor that monitors the performance of bearings and alerts workers to premature bearing failure by measuring temperature and vibration changes.

ExDie Cleaning Technologies, led by materials engineering students MaryBeth Pavlick, Wanying Li, Daw Gen Lim and Nolan Lantieri, is developing a safe, efficient and inexpensive method for removing the remaining material from aluminum extrusion dies. The method would replace an expensive hazardous chemical process now used by the industry. 

"We saw some extremely impressive and tremendously innovative business ideas once again this year, making the task incredibly tough for our team of judges," said Joseph Pekny, interim director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "The birth of the next-generation economy was apparent in all of these presentations."

ExDie Cleaning

MaryBeth Pavlick, who is studying materials science and engineering at Purdue, delivers her winning presentation for ExDie Cleaning Technologies at the 27th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition on Tuesday (Feb. 18). The company is developing a safe, efficient and inexpensive method for removing the remaining material of extrusions from steel, aluminum and other metal extrusion dies. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) 
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The five finalists in each division presented their business plans in an open forum during the competition, now in its 27th year, at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. P. Chris Earley, dean of the Krannert School of Management and the James Brooke Henderson Professor of Management, was keynote speaker at the awards dinner to announce the competition winners.

In winning the Gold Division, Bearing Analytics also receives $5,000 worth of in-kind services from law firm Ice Miller LLP, incubator space in Purdue Technology Center from the Purdue Foundry, a one-year membership in The Anvil co-working space, and one free registration in the 2014 Applied Management Principles (AMP) certificate program valued at $4,995 from Krannert.

As the Black Division winner, ExDie Cleaning Technologies also receives one free registration in the 2014 AMP certificate program.

Greg Deason, vice president and executive director of the Purdue Foundry, was impressed with all the competitors and encouraged about the role the university is playing in assisting many of the students on their presentations. The Foundry, he noted, worked closely with two of the top Black Division finishers and four of the five in the Gold Division.

"What's exciting is that the basis for these business ideas is to provide real solutions to real problems," Deason said. "Our goal through The Purdue Foundry, Discovery Park and the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship is to add value and provide the support for students, faculty and staff across campus for turning these ideas into real companies."

For its second-place finish in the Gold Division, Vibronix received $15,000, plus $3,000 worth of in-kind services from Ice Miller and a one-year membership in The Anvil co-working space. Team members are Pu Wang, Jenny Rostami, Gary Travis and Ji-Xin Cheng.

The technology advanced by Vibronix focuses on an intravascular photo acoustic (IVPA) system, aimed at providing comprehensive and accurate assessment of vulnerable plaque in the artery wall for diagnosing cardiovascular disease, guiding treatment, and testing the efficacy of cardiovascular therapeutics. 

EcoBreeze was third, receiving $7,500, plus $2,000 worth of in-kind services from Ice Miller and a one-year membership in The Anvil co-working space. The company, led by Hsin-Chin Su, Ruchit Mehta and Justin Richter, is developing a cooling technology that uses a unique piezoelectric material and manipulates the resonance properties for devices with more than 80 percent energy use reduction, up to 60 percent comparable function size reduction and 50 percent cost savings based on design and function.

SensorHound Innovations LLC and Coffee Coals each received $3,750 as finalists in the Gold Division.

SensorHound Innovations, led by Matthew Tan Creti and Vinai Sundaram, is developing software and related services designed to improve reliability and reduce operating costs of networked embedded systems, the enabling technology behind smart grids for utilities, energy-efficient buildings, high-precision agriculture, and manufacturing process control and automation.

Led by Jordan Woodard, Richard Bruins and Michael White, Coffee Coals is developing a way to convert used coffee grounds into premium charcoal briquettes, which are designed to burn as long and hot as traditional grilling charcoal but with a uniquely smooth earth-toned scent. 

Finishing second and receiving $10,000 in the Black Division was Atlas Energy Systems, spearheaded by Ian Hamilton, Joshua Auger, Kyle Pendergast and Kyle Harris. Atlas Energy is developing a nuclear energy conversion technology in which energy associated with the natural decay of radioactive isotopes is harnessed through a gas ionization process and applied to a load for direct usable power.

DSDNet, led by Andrew Linfoot, Chris MacPherson and Patrick Ozga, placed third, receiving $5,000 for its online ordering business that would give small retailers and distributors optimization software to be more efficient and to compete with major retailers.

FundSponge and Signature Settings each received $2,500 as finalists in the Black Division.

Led by Ah Young Park, FundSponge is a company focused on helping student clubs and other nonprofit organizations connect with online retailers to raise money.

Signature Settings, an online retail plastic-ware company led by Stephen Christopher and Zach McCall, is offering consumers the ability to add personal messages, upload logos and choose from its own library artwork for special events and celebrations.

Primary sponsors for this year's competition are the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Krannert School of Management and The Anvil, Purdue's entrepreneurial incubator.

The Purdue entrepreneurship competition started in 1987 with an endowment gift from The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, through its sponsored initiatives and partnerships - including the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Technology Realization Program, Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy and business plan competitions - aims to stimulate entrepreneurship at Purdue and serves as a state, regional and national resource.

A primary initiative of the Discovery Park center is the Deliberate Innovation for Faculty, or DIFF program, which was launched last month to provide mentoring for Purdue innovators who have an interest in translating their inventions to the public through commercialization, collaboration or entrepreneurship.

The building also houses the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub that opened in July to provide assistance in areas such as product ideation and market analysis as well as business-plan development, alumni and faculty mentoring, and help in finding funding. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Joseph Pekny, 765-426-7186,

Greg Deason, 765-588-5254,

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