This is a restricted-access page where the stakeholders can collaborate to analyze, plan, and implement an incubation project called “Vectorize With Conviction”.
12/19/20: Application filed with Oregon Correctional Enterprises
Snake River Correctional Institution
Second Chance Incubator
Vision Engraving & Routing Systems
With a directive to assess existing prison industries run by Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE), Peter Shikli toured the sign making shop at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI). Several computer numerical control (CNC) machines are used there to make sophisticated signs.
In his previous life as a manufacturing engineer many years ago, Peter was involved with the production of CNC tapes for large aerospace routers and other metalworking machinery. The idea formed that the inmate workers at SRCI could build a valuable career as CNC programmers since they already knew most of what was needed.
Unfortunately, the days of taking man-weeks to produce CNC tapes have passed, replaced by 2D vector drawings produced with popular software like Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator, and by 3D software like AutoCAD. The CNC machines can program their own speeds and feeds by analyzing the vector drawings.
The business opportunity thus shifted from producing CNC instructions to producing vector drawings from common inputs like a digital scan or a raster image. This production begins with automation tools that estimate the placement of nodes and lines, but ends with the oversight of a trained human. A simple example could be scanning a business card for a logo and then vectorizing that into the nodes, lines, and fill colors to represent that logo. At that point, a CNC machine can cut (router, engrave, etch, etc) the logo out of brass, vinyl, wood, etc.
A few domestic companies provide this service, but much of it is outsourced overseas to India. A rough average is $100 to $200 for a vectorization with typically a 24-hour turnaround.
A trained analyst can provide the service in an hour or two, but with about that much again in the overhead of getting the requirements and the iteration needed to earn acceptance. Our eTaskBoard application as used at Access2online can automate most of that overhead as part of its ecommerce-based task management.
Vision Engraving & Routing Systems of Phoenix AZ makes SRCI’s CNC machine, the Vision 2550 Router. Their Ron Zydonik has expressed an interest in collaborating with Vectorize With Conviction. Ron comes with decades of current experience in this field and has often thought a business like this might be feasible.
Ron also sees the value of this as a social enterprise in terms of reducing recidivism and giving inmates a way to earn their way to self esteem and a good job upon release.
Although sign shops typically work in 2 dimensions, a long-term opportunity is to join forces with the AutoCAD talent at the Oregon State Penitentiary if/when this expands into high-end CNC machines that work in three dimensions and the emerging 3D printers.
1) After authorization by OCE, we prepare a detailed workflow report on the process used by SRCI to vectorize their scanned or rasterized input images. We analyze that process for productivity, quality, and expansion improvements, typically through automation hardware and software.
2) Acquire OCE approval of the hardware and software designated in Step #1 above.
3) Purchase above hardware and software.
4) Train one or two analysts to do the vectorizing using internal SCRI jobs.
5) With the automation gained above, build a website and begin experimental marketing leading to a rampo up of billable customer production.
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