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New Product Development

CEI provides a wide variety of assistance to inventors, design engineers, and marketeers interested in new product development.  Several of our consultants are patent holders.  Others have launched new products into worldwide distribution channels.  WCU’s Rapid Center is a terrific resource for low-cost, product design and prototype development.  Especially beneficial is our commercial feasibility research to estimate the value of pursuing a patent or business launch before investing a significant amount of money (or risking months or years of your time).  Contact CEI today for expert help and pragmatic guidance.

design for manufacturing

prototyping services

commercial feasibility

patent assistance

Design For Manufacturing

CEI has terminal degree-level faculty and engineers with high levels of technical knowledge and industry experience in Design for Manufacturing, LEAN, Six Sigma production, statistical process control, and related programs to assist your business with improving manufacturing efficiency.  Multiple faculty members have over 20 years of manufacturing experience.  We can help with design modifications, tooling, material choices, production process alternatives, and other programs to eliminate defects or improve lead times as needed. 

Prototyping Services

CEI provides prototyping services through WCU’s Rapid Prototyping Center.  The Rapid Center is a university-based research and development center. Within a dynamic environment for hands-on rapid prototyping and experimentation, our industry-experienced faculty and staff work with business partners to address their specific needs and to remove obstacles to product commercialization and process improvement. The Rapid Center fosters a culture of collaborative innovation that helps clients refine existing products, develop new ones and improve business practices.

At the same time, our engineering students, working with faculty mentors and course instructors, work with The Rapid Center to address real-world problems for project sponsors while they gain hands-on experience during the two-semester senior capstone project.


The Rapid Center’s offices, classrooms and labs are located in the Belk Building and Center for Applied Technology. Our facilities are fully equipped with professional software and hardware that meets or exceeds industry standards for product design, development and testing.


The Rapid Center serves businesses and industries throughout the Southeast and beyond, providing access to world-class product development resources while working to achieve our goals of economic transformation and engaged learning.

Commercial Feasibility 

A unique service offered by CEI is the research and generation of commercial feasibility studies to gauge the value and likelihood of the sustainability of a business or product idea.  These studies entail competitive benchmarking, detailed demographic studies of the target market, market analyses (utilizing a proprietary Porter’s Five Evaluation Scorecard), along with appropriate marketing research to affirm that a business venture will go. We factor in the latest in environmental trends, provide a SWOT analysis and grand strategy recommendation, and provide pragmatic conclusion and recommendation.

Patent Assistance

CEI assists inventors, students, engineers, and entrepreneurs with pragmatic advice and para-legal services for obtaining US and international patents.  Multiple CEI consultants have been awarded patents in a wide-variety of fields including mechanical mechanisms, medical products, outdoor gear, and apparel.  We provide good value prior to your contacting a patent attorney for expensive prior art searches or provisional patent applications.  WCU’s Rapid Center can also provide design guidance and innovative modifications to further the possibility of a utility patent approval or to increase features and benefits of a product. 

Design for Manufacturing
Commercial Feasibility
Patent Assistance


83% rated the experience as “positive and enjoyable”

85% reported improved results and value

84% found better strategy and motivation


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WCU’s CEI has PhD faculty and experienced industry professionals available to help you with a wide variety of business needs. Many of our faculty experienced highly successful careers in senior management with a great deal of international experience.  We are committed to regional economic development and your success which also coincides with the mission of the university. 


Interested in working with CEI? Contact our team today to schedule a meeting and learn more.

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