Success Story Powered by Statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership Member FuzeHub and Clarkson University
Potsdam, NY based LC Drives is a manufacturer that builds light-weight permanent magnet electric motors that are smaller and more energy efficient than their competition. Their motors are typically used for marine and heavy duty vehicle propulsion, wind turbines and other industrial processes. Headquartered in Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation in the North Country, they were founded in 2012 with early funding from the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
As LC Drives ramped up operations, they had a need for compressed air to build a full-scale manufacturing line to improve and automate operations permitting them to fill orders and attract additional investment. Additionally, a powder coating booth was needed to improve the durability, quality, and look of its motors in order to attract larger customers in their target markets. Clarkson University’s Shipley Center Incubator did not have these systems, which could be shared by other tenants at the facility.
FuzeHub, part of New York MEP and the MEP National Network™, awarded grants to the Shipley Center for the required equipment that can benifit multiple tenants at the incubator, including LC Drives, through its Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund. The first grant, awarded in 2017, was for $75,000 and covered the costs of the compressed air system that enabled LC Drives to build-out its manufacturing line and move full-scale production. A second grant followed the following year for $50,000 covering the cost of the power coating equipment.
The support that we received from FuzeHub and Clarkson University was critical to our ability to manufacture motors in the North Country. There were not good options for facilities with the right compressed air system for our operations locally. This system was key in enabling us to meet the goals required for our Series A funding.
- LC Drives could scale-up manufacturing and target larger customers
- Won a $15 million Series A investment from Koch Engineering Solutions which led to more than a tripling of the company’s workforce from 16 to 54 employees.
- LC Drives projects that within five years they will reach 300 employees and $100 million in sales.
- Recently, the Potsdam manufacturing company hired 13 graduates from Clarkson’s Class of 2000.