RAPID + Grove Labs
Grove Labs was founded in 2013 by Gabe Blanchet and Jamie Byron. The two built their business around their interest in agriculture technology with a mission to create products that would connect people with nature. With the goal of bringing nature into the consumer’s household the Grove Labs team developed their first product, Grove Echosystem.
Grove Echosystem is an indoor aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a combination of plants and an aquarium that use nature’s sustainable relationships. In short, the nutrient enriched water from the aquarium fertilizes the plants. Getting to the final, consumer-ready product took lots of testing to ensure it was safe for the consumer, vegetation, and fish involved. .
When developing the Grove Echosystem the team had the biggest challenge of managing biology. Electronics, thermal energy, food safety and filtration systems all posed challenges to the system. Grove Echosystem also needed to be easy to assemble and aesthetically pleasing for the customer. These challenges all emerged during the prototype design phase.
Because of all the challenges Grove knew they were not going to develop everything in-house. The Grove team required a prototype sheet metal manufacturer, wire harness & cable assembly manufacturer, and a production company. Ideally, they wanted a local supplier who would be able to begin with prototype manufacturing and scale up to production when the time came.
During the research phase, Greentown Labs, the innovation hub where Grove is located, had a Lunch and Learn with RAPID. RAPID introduced the entrepreneurs to all of RAPID’s services including rapid sheet metal prototype fabrication, CNC prototype machining, wire harness and cable assemblies, and production manufacturing. After the Lunch and Learn the team at Grove was hooked.
Grove chose RAPID as their supplier for sheet metal prototype parts. One of the best parts of RAPID, Grove noted, was RAPID’s ability to take a 3D CAD file and produce a quote in hours. Because of this there is little back and forth unless there are design questions, or part revisions. Overall it is a seamless quoting process for the engineer that turns into consistent, reliable sheet metal prototype parts.
Because of RAPID’s seamless process, and ability to produce consistent parts, Grove has moved from prototype to low volume production. RAPID was able to take the same CAD files and repeat the process to produce the sheet metal parts on a larger scale. This frictionless process allows the Grove team to focus on the big picture and customers.
Nick Ambrogi, Hardware Engineer, states, “It is really nice to be able to trust the team at RAPID. The process is so repeatable and reliable.”
Along with sheet metal prototypes Grove also works with the wire and cable team at RAPID. Because Grove Echosystem includes some electronic elements RAPID is able to provide cable assemblies. The ability to have a sheet metal team, wire & cable team, and a production team in-house means everything is shipped to the customer complete. This saved Grove assembly time and improved efficiency.
Since, working with RAPID, Grove produced a cabinet that is reliable, easy to assemble, scalable to the business, and aesthetically pleasing to the consumers. Grove has improved efficiency by having sheet metal and cable assemblies completed by one supplier.
Grove launched the Grove Echosystem for consumer consumption on December 2015.
If you are interested in learning more about the Grove Echosystem or purchasing the unit visit their KICKSTARTER campaign.
Learn more, Grove Labs Website: https://grovelabs.io