The Answer? A.I. Meets Motor Repair

An A.I. startup focused on plant machinery just got a hefty donation

BlueRidge.AI doesn’t use spaces in its title. Perhaps that’s because it doesn’t have time to waste. In the AI/IoT company’s applications, eliminating every second of downtime is the top priority. It should find its efforts more feasible in the near future after receiving a $1.9 million investment from a neighborly cyber-startup company June 24, according to a press release.

Even prior to its donation from DataTribe—which is based in Fulton, Md., a manageable hour-plus drive from its headquarters in Winchester, Va.—BlueRidge had an impressive start to its resume. The startup company’s founder, Lloyd Clark, previously served as the strategic AI leader at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Va.

BlueRidge is integrating Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and predictive analytics into both its products and services. “We combine industrial, motor & control expertise with technology solutions which enable our manufacturing customers to transform their operations into globally competitive operations,” the company claims on its LinkedIn page. “We do this by embracing new disruptive technologies such as ML, AI and IoT and apply them to help our customers solve old problems in new ways.”

That’s a confident statement from a company entering an industry prone to wariness of new, invasive technology. In every IoT seminar we see—although this may be changing slowly—the most common questions from the gallery are concerns about the security of these devices (IoT sensors, primarily). As for Artificial Intelligence being integrated to the electric motor repair industry? Don’t even get most people started.

But BlueRidge has an idea for how to ingratiate itself up its sleeve: it purchased a long-running motor repair shop as one of its own first investments. The name might ring a bell: Blue Ridge Electric Service, a Winchester-based shop that opened in 1952.

Look for more on BlueRidge.AI in upcoming issues of Electrical Apparatus.

It provided plenty of source material to “train” the models that tell the sensors what issues to look for.

“Any given morning there’s a whole loading dock filled with every failure you can imagine,” Clark said.

The shop opened in 1952, and has proximity to plenty of heavy industry shops that also served as early users, Clark said.

The company is now looking to install its sensors on other machines on a factory floor, adding to the types of data it collects.

Blue Ridge Repair-related…”It started with a focus on the heavy industrial electric motors that are used…” Baltimore’s Stephen Babcock wrote in a piece June 27. In that interview, Lloyd Clark specifically stresses how his machines “are not sending out any data”.

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