Bi-Link Opens "Hardware Store" Engineering Center in Research Triangle Park

A next generation engineering center has opened its doors in Morrisville, North Carolina, just outside Raleigh, within the famed Research Triangle Park.

The Hardware Store is a technology-driven “playground” for design engineers — an atmosphere where they can go from rough idea to CAD concept to injection molded or 3D printed part in just hours. In addition to world-class personnel for DFM, the Hardware Store’s capabilities range from high tolerance CNC and tooling to 15-micron accurate 3D prints.

The workspace was developed by Bi-Link, a leading global contract manufacturer that serves the automotive, medical, wireless and consumer electronic industries.

“The Hardware Store is about bringing great minds together in an idea-driven atmosphere,” says Ray Ziganto, President of Bi-Link. “Bi-Link is unique in how we provide engineer-to-engineer (E2E) support. The Hardware Store takes things to another level. Away from the day-to-day, engineers can tinker and push the boundaries on design projects. They’re able to ask questions and get input from our resident engineers and other staff — even create early iterations of their ideas by getting some parts made.”

While Bi-Link’s Global Headquarters are in Bloomingdale, Illinois, the company chose Raleigh as the site for its first Hardware Store because the area is a hub for innovation. Research Triangle Park is home to many technology companies, a growing incubator community, and globally recognized universities.

One of those who have already taken advantage of the resources available at The Hardware Store is Maureen Bunger, PhD, Vice President and Director of Product Development at SciKon Innovation Inc., located in Research Triangle Park.

“Entrepreneurs and engineers want to be, and have to be, hands on with their prototyping and manufacturing of new products,” Bunger said. “The Hardware Store seems to be created exactly for that. The expertise in engineering, CAD, and product development are already there with this team and you can walk out with a new part in a day.” She adds, “Since working with Bi-Link through this mechanism, we’ve had a product with five parts, plus electronics, go from a ‘back of the napkin’ concept, through multiple design iterations, to a functioning prototype in just two months. It would have taken easily a year or more to do this in other circumstances.”

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