JAN. 23, 2013 -- Do you hate the bits of dried milk that form on the lip of plastic milk bottles?
Do you hate it when this yucky stuff falls into your cereal and coffee in the morning as you pour the milk? Did you know that they are called milk “crusties” and that millions of people hate them?
A young graduate of Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) decided he’d had enough of this “gross” problem. He enlisted the help of SPSU Prof. Randy Emert, who challenged his mechanical engineering technology students to develop a solution to this annoying problem. The result is a product called the MilkCapper™, an innovative milk cap that can be reused over and over.
“We think this is a great invention – our design gets rid of milk crusties and pours milk and other beverages better than anything else on the market. We have reinvented the milk cap,” said Tommy Tornroos, a 27-year-old inventor who graduated from SPSU in 2009 with a business degree and has since started two companies, one of which develops game and music applications for iPhones and iPads.
Tornroos said the regular appearance of milk crusties in his cereal and coffee “bothered me to no end,” but he turned up nothing in his search for an existing solution other than the realization that a lot of other people would like to banish nasty crusties from their lives, too. He took his determination to redesign the caps of plastic jugs to Prof. Emert, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology at SPSU, who realized that this would be a great challenge for students in his new, senior-level Rapid Design and Manufacture class. He divided the 24 students into teams that used computer-aided design (CAD) software and 3-D printing to come up with different designs.
Tornroos and Prof. Emert selected the MilkCapper™, developed by students Anthony Roberts and William Cortez-Vega, as the best design. “It works with all milk, tea and water jugs, half gallons and gallons; it’s made of dishwasher safe, FDA food-grade plastic; and the spout allows for a great flow,” said Tornroos.
The MilkCapper™ is now patent-pending, and since Tornroos does not have the funding to pay for all the plastics and metal molds needed, “We have started a fixed-funding campaign through Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com/milkcapper) to crowd-fund and raise $5,000 through crowd sourcing by Feb. 24,” he said.
Visitors to the campaign website can view a video about the development of the product and are invited to place an order for one or more of the new caps ($10 each), thereby contributing funds. If the campaign meets its $5,000 goal, MilkCappers™ will be mailed out in March. If the goal is not met, all contributors will be reimbursed for their pledges.
“It’d be great if this turns out to be a million-dollar idea. We’ll see," Tornroos said. "But at least I can say I got rid of milk crusties for hundreds of thousands of people.”
To view an interview with Tornroos and Prof. Emert by WXIA-TV (11Alive) that aired on Jan. 22, click on 11Alive interview.