Houghton Co. business lands $44K grant

HANCOCK, Michigan (September 6, 2012) — Talon Research, Inc. recently received a Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) grant of $44,000, which will be used to incorporate technology that complements their increasingly popular BridgeGuard infrared highway inspection equipment.

Talon introduced BridgeGuard in 2010, and it has revolutionized the way state and private bridge owners inspect the integrity of bridge decks and substructure elements. BridgeGuard utilizes vehicle mounted infrared imaging cameras to detect delaminations within bridge structures. It can be used at near highway speeds for deck inspections, preventing costly and dangerous lane closures.

Talon’s current BridgeGuard system is exceptional at detecting problems within bridge structures. The new product being developed with the BAF grant will be used to detect, quantify and map cracks on the surface of a bridge. “Currently the only way to accurately map the cracks in the bridge surface is to close a lane, and have technicians map the entire surface of the bridge,” says Talon President Jay Ruohonen. “This is very time consuming, expensive and dangerous. With BridgeGuard’s enhanced technology, mapping will be done on every crack in the bridge surface without ever leaving the vehicle. We can do it for less than what it currently costs state Departments of Transportation.”

Talon learned about the grant from MTEC SmartZone Program Director, Jonathan Leinonen. “The BAF is a very competitive program for technology companies across Michigan,” states Jonathan. “Because the funds could be tied to job creation, we were able to present a strong case for funding.” The grant required Talon to have all processes in place to create a product that could be brought to market in five months. “That’s not very much time in the engineering and software world. The only way we could make this happen was with this extra grant money,” says Jay. Under normal circumstances a project like this would take Talon one and a half to two years to complete.

Another grant requirement for Talon is the use of outside contractors. They have hired local IT and marketing agencies that will help ensure the product is done in the five-month timeline. “We are fortunate to have the support from many local talented individuals,” says Jay. “With all of us working together, there is no question that this product will change the way bridge inspection is done.”

Not only is the BAF grant great for Talon, it is great for their customers. “Using the grant money for research and development, we will be able to provide a more thorough inspection of bridges. The cost increase will be minimal,” says Jay. The new short wave infrared cameras will be mounted next to the current long wave cameras, and used either separately or simultaneously. Talon will be a one-stop service provider for both the detection of structural delamination problems and bridge surface cracks. “Our customers have been asking for this for some time now,” says Jay. “Now we will able to deliver a solution that goes far beyond what anyone else in our industry is offering.”