Sometimes an example helps. Here are a few of our past projects:
"They were able to come in and assess our problems quickly, seemingly from a very wide breadth of experience."

--Kezhun Li, Manager of Engineering Analysis at Case New Holland

Knee implant alignment – Manufacturability

Alignment is one of the most important aspects of knee implant lifespan and comfort. The success of implant hardware and surgical techniques relies on understanding these requirements.

Prairiefire quantified the effects of several locating strategies. We developed a novel cut geometry that allows 30% more variation in bone cuts with no reduction in implant alignment or performance.

Welded Lift Arm – Manufacturability

Fixtures caused imperfect (but in spec) parts to open gaps too large for robotic welding on a lift arm assembly.

Prairiefire doubled production by refining the fixturing strategy, keeping weld gaps small without tightening tolerances or changing the design.

Turbo bellows fatigue – Reliability

Early-life fatigue failures on Tier IV production engines due to factory misalignment of bellows.

Prairiefire refined the current design, keeping standard components and tolerances. We reduced bellows pre-load by over 28%, allowed 3x more thermal and dynamic deformation before failure, and reduced assembly time.

Molded Latch – Reliability

Prototype tooling made out-of-spec parts, both undersized and too variable. The latch would close but wouldn't stay closed.

Prairiefire got every assembly to work by nailing down the true dimensional requirements, opening up tolerances, and adjusting the sizes of two features. It’s better for the shop, too: the wider tolerances make it easier to produce parts within spec.

Diesel Piston Strike – Manufacturing

Overseas production couldn't hold spec on a tolerance carried over from an earlier engine design.

Prairiefire used a combined thermal, dynamic, and manufacturing variation analysis to prove the piston would still clear the head with a wider tolerance, tripling production capacity.

Hydro-static transmission power loss – Performance

A small but consistent percentage of hydro-static transmissions showed unacceptable power loss during testing. With high production volumes, the problem was expensive and the root cause remained elusive, even after extensive internal investigation by the customer.

Prairiefire identified two specific, possible causes and initial testing validated one as the winner. A simple, sustainable fix is in development.

Fuel Injector Dynamic Flow Prediction - Performance

Tightening environmental regulations on a diesel engine drove our client to better control the combustion process, which included the need to better understand and control fuel delivery via injector.

Prairiefire calculated performance as a function of fuel flow, due to manufacturing, erosion, lubricity, dynamic control, pressure, and other variation. The results contributed to a new injector design that meets emissions regulations.

Artificial Heart Internal Clearances - Reliability

Controlling internal clearances is crucial to preventing clot formation and blood cell shearing.

Prairiefire quantitatively determined the effect of manufacturing choices on internal clearances, creating an artificial heart that is proven to work correctly before even the first clinical trial.

An abridged list of projects:

Heavy Industry:

  • Fuel Injector performance durability
  • Air Brake activation pressure
  • Transmission gear life
  • NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness)
  • Bearing life
  • Robotic weldment control
  • Fan performance
  • Planetary gears sun-orbiting
  • Hydraulic valve spool control
  • EPA emissions test fixture
  • Tier 4 emissions systems
  • Bolted Joints assembly analyzer
  • Vibration Isolation Mount preload
  • Radiator cooler failures
  • Toric Seals
  • Turbine assembly clearances
  • Valvetrain lash


Other Fields:

  • Mobile Tuberculosis screening
    (Indiana School of Medicine)
  • Knee implant alignment
  • Heart pump
  • EDM (Electronic Discharge Machine)
  • Low Power Hydrostatic Transmission
  • Latches
  • Diabetes Care Diagnostics

Supported Student Projects:

  • Fiber optics alignment (Foxconn)
  • Solar panel structure
    (Werner Extrusion Solutions)
  • Model carburetor auto adjustment
    (Horizon Hobbies)
  • Mobile Iron lung (Professor Shannon)