By GREGORY ZELLER // Long Island tinkerers needn’t look to other domestic regions or overseas when they want to prototype or manufacture their designs – there are Island-based options that can turn their dreams into real-world products.
Manufacturing services are “within very close reach” of Long Island inventors, who “don’t have to go elsewhere, especially overseas, to take an idea on a napkin to production,” according to Arto Cinoglu, vice president of Bohemia-based Dart Manufacturing.
Sometimes, the manufacturer needs very little. Cinoglu, a veteran product developer who worked in several engineering departments before he and partner David Moses launched Dart Manufacturing in 2004, said a simple chat can sometimes get the prototype ball rolling.
“It could be a sketch, it could be a conversation with the client about what they’re trying to do,” Cinoglu said. “Sometimes, that’s enough for us to build a full 3D model or prototype for them.”
From that point – depending on the particular product, the size of the production run and other factors – Dart Manufacturing can either take the production lead or connect inventors with the domestic or, if necessary, international manufacturer best suited to their needs.
“We have all sorts of connections to achieve product production,” Cinoglu noted.
The ability to handle all aspects of production, from producing it themselves to making the right professional recommendation, was not there when Moses and Cinoglu launched their company 11 years ago. At first, Dart Manufacturing was a small shop in Massapequa focused exclusively on design work, launched by partners who both boasted decades of R&D and senior design work for other, larger firms.
They soon moved into prototyping, Cinoglu noted, and relocated their operation to a larger space in Holbrook. Business took off – clients regularly requested that Dart Manufacturing do more than just prototype their designs, Cinoglu noted, and soon the firm moved to its current Bohemia factory, where the principals handle everything from conceptualization to mass production.
Dart Manufacturing even designs and builds customized factory-automation machines, helping clients develop their own manufacturing capabilities.
“We realized that clients needed these services,” Cinoglu said. “So we expanded our capabilities and become a one-stop shop.”
Among those clients is Brian Fried, a serial inventor and founder of the Suffolk County Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club, who “has asked me many times to share my expertise with his group,” Cinoglu said.
That led to Cinoglu’s appearance at a recent club meeting, where new ideas abounded, including the Happe Holder, a cup holder designed specifically for use at a sandy beach or grassy park, and the Progressive Leg Stretcher, a physical therapy device that helps users perform perfect-form leg stretches without the assistance of a therapist.
Both ideas – presented by inventors Jeanne Cilmi and Mary Ann Malizia, respectively – have a chance to be “very successful in their fields,” according to Cinoglu.
“As an inventor myself with a million new ideas, I have to be very critical about whether something is going to work or be successful,” Cinoglu noted. “When a client comes to us with an idea, we make it very clear: If we don’t believe it will work in today’s society with today’s technology, we’re not going to take their money.
“There is no stupid idea, but the best ideas are simple-stupid – like the lady with the cup holders, a great invention.”
That recent club meeting was a milestone of sorts, marking eight years since the organization first gathered inventors in August 2007. The “super” turnout of about 50 people, Fried noted, shows the continuing need for a countywide resource uniting inventors who might not have any particular business or manufacturing knowledge with professionals who do.
“I’m so proud of the group and the support we’ve received from the county,” Fried said. “As long as people come up with ideas to improve things, no matter who they are or what they do for a living or what their status might be, there will be a need for a platform like this.
“Eight years later, I’m happy we’re able to continue to provide this resource for the inventors and entrepreneurs of Long Island,” Fried added. “They’ll always have someplace to come.”