Getting early advice is key for prototyping, manufacturing panelists

Innovation Week, News

OMAHA, Nebraska (October 28, 2020)—UNeMed’s Innovation Week continued today with a panel discussion that looked at manufacturing and prototyping resources for inventors and entrepreneurs.

In Zoom meeting that ran a little under an hour, an expert panel discussed the steps and processes involved with getting an idea from the back of a napkin to a product on the market.

“When they come with a napkin, a lot more work has to be done before you get it pushed through, that’s for sure,” said panelist Mark Keffler, the CEO at Omaha Custom Manufacturing. “When we get a prototype in here, the first thing we have to do is dissect the prototype, figure out what makes it tick.”

The other panelists all agreed that it is usually best to bring in experts to guide the design and prototyping process as early as possible.

As the panelists described, and advanced protortpy might look and function well, but setting it up for large-scale production might not be feasible. Sometime and inventor or business owner might have a product that just can’t be easily made with current manufacturing techniques, or it would be far too expensive. When that happens, the panelists all agreed, then the process has to start over, nearly from scratch.

The entire panel discussion is available on UNeMed’s YouTube channel, and can be viewed at

Other panelists include Rakesh Srivastava and Kyler Meredith from the Hastings-based Shabri; Brian Knarr and Travis Vanderheyden from UNO’s Machining and Prototyping Core; and Tyler Keffeler at Omaha Custom Manufacturing.

Innovation Week concludes tomorrow with the Innovation Awards ceremony at noon.

The awards will be held via Zoom, and will honor all UNMC and UNO faculty, students and staff who submitted a new invention, were awarded a U.S. Patent or had a technology licensed during the 2020 fiscal year. UNeMed will also name the year’s Most Promising New Invention and will announce the “Innovator of the Year.”

The Awards ceremony can be viewed via Zoom at

More information about Innovation Week and the Innovation Awards can be found at

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