The Apex-based ProAxion was co-founded in 2015 by Justin Rothwell, a designer and commissioner for industrial machines, and Elliot Poger, an experienced software engineer.
Both men have over 20 years of experience in their respective fields and have brought their backgrounds together to leverage the latest in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology.
The company focuses on selling hardware—primarily sensors—and a subscription service for industrial customers to monitor their heavy machinery. ProAxion oversees the service 24/7 and alerts the facilities when there is a problem with one of their machines.
According to Rothwell, the price of the sensor machinery is about 8-10 times less than other legacy systems, priced at an estimated $1,000 for one installation the first year and $250 for additional years, making it a more affordable and accessible option.
“Predictive maintenance has been around for many years,” Rothwell said. “In the past, people would touch machines to see if they were vibrating differently or if their temperature was off, but the sensors we made are 10,000 times more sensitive than one’s hand. They’re much more accurate.”
Their original sensor system, TACTIX, takes about five minutes to connect to existing machinery and collects vibration and temperature data so it can track a complex data set while still collecting about 10,000 data points per second.
The information is then processed through cloud-based analytics and mobile communications technology to inform customers as soon as possible if their machines are operating at normal or inefficient levels.
Last year, ProAxion was recognized as one of the top Internet of Things companies at the NC Tech Awards.
This year, they will be one of the featured companies at the CED Tech Conference and Poger will have the chance to pitch their blue sensors on the main stage for a chance to win some recognition—and, most importantly, some cash. The company has already raised $750K to date, including from Triangle Angel Partners, and also earned an NC IDEA grant.
The company has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for their industrial customers by alerting them of potential equipment trouble and advising them to address the concerns before the facilities are impacted.
“I think our technology is cool and slick, but I think the primary message is to empower the people who work at these facilities,” said Rothwell. “While we alert our customers, we still keep the decisions in their hands so they can choose when to maintenance their devices.”
Healthcare For Machines
Their products focus on helping customers run their industrial factories and machinery more efficiently through proactive data-driven monitoring.
“In a lot of ways it’s like your health,” Rothwell said. “If you do all the right things, eat well, exercise, check in with your doctors—everything should be all right. If you’re not doing those things, then you might have trouble.”
The company has about 40 customers, some of which have over 140 facilities across America. The TACTIX product is approaching over 10 million hours of machinery operation collectively.
There are two full-time employees at ProAxion but Rothwell projects doubling the employment to four or five full-time employees by the end of 2019.
In 2018, ProAxion had just under a million dollars in revenue, and Rothwell hopes the company will crack multiple millions by the end of this year.
“The IIoT space is very crowded and noisy and we are carving out a small piece for ourselves,” Rothwell said. “We feel our piece is quite valuable though, so hopefully in coming months it’s clearer to see where we fit into the big puzzle.”