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Combined Energies Disrupts Power Storage and Conversion

Description

Combined Energies is a Rochester-based startup that is developing a Universal DC-to-DC converter platform, a device that links the power output of an energy storage, renewable, fuel cell or other power source to an end use. By utilizing silicon carbide switching devices that can operate at high speed and high temperatures, the company’s patented design eliminates the need for active cooling, increases efficiency, lowers costs, all in a smaller footprint.

"The FuzeHub Commercialization Award enabled Combined Energies to improve our commercial prototype designs and ready hardware for in-application evaluation by potential customers. We implemented over 10 Design for Manufacturing initiatives that will reduce part cost, assembly time and reduce scrap. Additionally, we were able to leverage the FuzeHub award to secure additional funding from both investors and manufacturing related government programs. As a result of attending the CC, we also applied for FuzeHub’s Build4Scale program which connected us with manufacturing design personnel that assisted in reducing our enclosure cost by 10 times. The bottom line is we now have a much-improved commercial design and are poised to engage the market!"
Rhonda Staudt
Co-Founder

The Challenge

Combined Energies’ Co-founder Rhonda Staudt and her team needed money to improve their prototype and give it a more “production-ready design.” Design-for-manufacturing analysis and feedback from the company’s contract manufacturer had revealed some specific issues that needed to be addressed.

The Solution

Combined Energies applied for FuzeHub’s 2019 Commercialization Competition and won a $50,000 prize. It used the money to hire a firm to redesign its product, including splitting one large board into two smaller components.

Outcomes / The Impact

The design change put Combined Energies closer to where it needs to be for full-scale manufacturing and commercialization. Dividing the board into two pieces will not only make it easier to produce, it will enable the company to target more markets by allowing it to change the output side of the converter to meet different needs while leaving the input side as is. Although Combined Energies itself did not hire additional people as a result of the grant, it supported jobs at two Rochester area firms —design engineer Vanteon Wireless Solutions and contract manufacturer Surmotech.

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