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The tour of the manufacturing floor provided an inside look at what drone manufacturing in the US can look like. BRINC’s manufacturing shows how US drone manufacturing can and is being done – and how nimble smaller, US-based companies can be in building to meet customer needs.
Aircraft is hard, as many larger companies who thought a drone might be an easy adjunct have discovered. GoPro’s drone
was short-lived; Snap’s Pixy
lasted fewer than 4 months. At the end of the day, drones have to fly: safely, reliably, and efficiently. Commercial drones like BRINC’s mission-critical LEMUR
must incorporate their special features – communications (the LEMUR offers two-way communications, like a flying cell phone), flight control, specialized batteries, and more.
Manufacturing equipment is fascinating to watch. At BRINC, rows of 3D printers are constantly working to manufacture parts (it’s called the “3D Print fam.”). Optics assembly is performed in a glass clean room designed to eliminate dust. Boards are assembled at individual workbenches. A laser cutter, a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, a battery welding station: all of these are a reminders that drone manufacturing requires precision engineering and a perfectly coordinated alignment of hardware and software. At BRINC, much of the building, testing, training, and customer interaction happen in the same building, with a tight team of engineers and manufacturing staff working together to ensure that each aircraft meets the highest standards – and talking with customers to discuss new features or requirements they’ve requested.
At the factory tour, we were also introduced to BRINC’s latest talent acquisition: Marketing Director David Benowitz. Benowitz, who also publishes industry analysis under the well-known “Drone Analyst” brand, was previously with DJI. Benowitz says that BRINC’s manufacturing is one of the reasons he feels that BBRINC is one of the most exciting companies in the space today.
“BRINC is just a two-year old company, but the step-by-step approach to manufacturing, development and design is something you don’t see anywhere else in the space, and what will give us the edge,” says Benowitz. “There are so many awesome things about the LEMUR: its two-way communications capabilities, LiDAR system, glass breaker attachment, flight control capabilites, ruggedized frame…but as someone with experience working in a customer facing role at a manufacturer, the truly compelling thing about LEMUR as a project is the amount of improvements made on the hardware and software over the years from specific customer feedback. The amount of care and effort put into supporting and improving customers at BRINC is second to none.”
Benowitz says that there’s a lot in the pipeline for the BRINC organization – including a new, non-drone tool for the same public safety teams that use the LEMUR. The BRINC Ball is two-way communication in a ruggedized ball format, one that can be tossed from height or through a door to establish contact in critical situations. It’s a serious tool for a serious purpose – but Benowitz’ enthusiasm about the project and the testing going on in the factory is contagious.
“I’m excited to be on the ground in the industry building things again,” Benowitz says. “We’ll have countless stories to tell, events to go to, and an organization to build.”
Brett Kanda, BRINC’s VP of Sales and Marketing, says Benowitz’ experience and enthusiasm is a great fit for the BRINC team. “As we’ve experienced rapid growth over the past 20 months, we quickly realized that we needed somebody who could help lead our marketing organization. Finding the correct fit for this role was challenging because we needed somebody with deep drone industry experience, but also somebody who could relate to public safety operators and market our products to them in a compelling and efficient way. After 6 months of searching and hundreds of interviews, I was thrilled to see David’s name on the list. We’ve known eacy other for years – his experience, attitude, work ethic, talent, and vision for the future set him apart from the pack. We couldn’t be more excited to have him market our mission and products to first responders around the world.”