In early December 2015, Tespo, a vitamin and supplement company, was looking to innovate on an existing product. The Northville, Michigan start-up sought out Invent@NMU for help with developing a to-go accessory for its vitamin-dispensing unit. While initially skeptical if an undergraduate student program could produce a quality design and product, the Tespo project lead was pleasantly surprised with Invent’s student team when presented with not one or two, but four different potential accessory designs that rivalled and even surpassed sketches the company received from a professional design firm in the Lower Peninsula. After Tespo chose Invent’s design among the competition, the student team began working diligently to develop final sketches, 3D renderings and finally a finished prototype of the now “Tesp Go” accessory that was printed in the NMU school of Art and Design’s industrial 3D printer. The company needed the project to be ready to manufacture by the coming February, so the time sensitive aspect was a positive challenge for the students.
The Tespo team was so impressed by the students’ capabilities that they requested a work order to be drawn up for a packaging design and sourcing. The Invent team reached out to Andex Industries in Gladstone, Michigan, while the Tespo found a short run manufacturer for the to-go unit in Romulus. The result of this project was a product fully designed and manufactured in Michigan, and an unforgettable experience for the students at Invent@NMU.