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NPDC Case Study: CDS Concepts, LLC
The Inventor’s Assistance Service is a nonprofit, state-funded service that helps inventors navigate the invention process through education, information and referrals. The service is a program offered by the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University and provides guidance and resources to Oklahoma’s inventors. The IAS offers services in the area of preliminary patent searches, market analyses, manufacturing referrals, engineering analyses, drawing and model design and prototyping.
“The New Product Development Center is an outreach unit through the university that focuses on economic development,” said Robert Taylor, director of NPDC. “The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, also called OCAST, provides the funding for us to assist clients in Oklahoma.”
Enter Carl Shelton and CDS Concepts, LLC. Shelton established CDS Concepts, LLC in 2014 with several revolutionary ideas that led him to the NPDC and IAS. CDS Concepts, LLC is a small business located in Norman, Okla., that focuses on designing and creating unique products that are manufactured in the United States. Since the beginning of CDS Concepts LLC, Shelton has relied on NPDC programs for guidance. Shelton began with the Inventor’s Assistance Service program, was introduced to a manufacturer enrolled in the NPDC’s federally funded Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, and in the last stages of business development, Shelton utilized the newly formed NPDC Small Business Development Center for Technology Commercialization.
“CDS Concepts and owner Carl Shelton are unique in that they had the ability to take advantage of the entire menu of NPDC services,” said Jessica Stewart, IAS program manager. “We are fortunate to have entrepreneurs and manufacturers who are innovative and work synergistically to increase new product development, create jobs, and increase the number of small businesses in Oklahoma.”
CDS Concepts, LLC delivers products such as the unique CNC-made 180-degree Torch Circle Burner, which is constructed of aluminum, brass and stainless steel components resulting in a rust-free product and the Spare Tire Carrier, which was designed for Jeeps and lifted trucks to hold a larger-than-stock spare tire through a metal frame at an accessible height for the user.
The Torch Circle Burner is designed exclusively for the Victor CA1352 and the Victor CA2462 180-degree cutting heads and is the perfect tool for professional fabricators seeking an easy and quick set up, resulting in no guessing or pre-diameter layout requirements. The tool uses a unique and optional adjustment scale.
“All parts are CNC precision made from 6061 aluminum and 303 stainless steel, assuring a lightweight and rust-free product,” Shelton said.
The Tire Carrier was originally designed for Jeep vehicles, but as time progressed a similar design was created for lifted trucks. Both models allow the user to mount and carry a large and heavy spare tire in a fashionable way. The unit has an adjustable back space setting that will accommodate different wheel offsets. The tire assembly rotates 360-degrees; two 180-degree pivots with one 45-degree position and one 90 degree position. The Tire Carrier features two removable side plates made from aluminum.
For each product, Shelton utilized different resources available through the NPDC. He provided the staff with existing prints to duplicate and add revisions for the Torch Circle Burner. The IAS also took the existing prints on Shelton’s Tire carrier in addition to the hand drawings and photos to improve the carrier.
At the end of his successful project, the NPDC introduced Shelton to Kenny McDonald and George Brown Jr. of Special Parts Manufacturing, a company in Holdenville, Okla., that had connections with the NPDC through an economic development program.
Alongside the NPDC, Shelton and Special Parts Manufacturing worked together to coordinate the project specifications. Through each of Shelton’s inventions, Special Parts Manufacturing has been involved with every phase, from prototyping to revisions and all stages of manufacturing that resulted in a completed project.
Upon completion of the design and prototyping stage, the NPDC’s Small Business Development Center for Technology Commercialization played a role in Shelton’s business success by assisting the development of an effective website. The Center for Technology Commercialization works with clients such as Shelton to help small businesses start, grow and succeed.
Photos courtesy of Carl Shelton