Made In Minnesota: RiverStar Inc.

September 7, 2017 No Comments
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Automated Breath Test Kiosk

by Leah Call

toc_columns50pxFrom idea to implementation, prototype to packaging, RiverStar in Winona, Minn., has helped innovators launch new products and improve existing ones. One such product, the Automated Breathalyzer™ Kiosk (AB Kiosk), is an alcohol screening tool sold by Precision Kiosk Technologies (PKT) which hit the market in 2017.

“RiverStar’s assistance has been vital as a contract manufacturer that has allowed us to stay skinny and focused,” said PKT General Manager Patrick McKinney. “We could come to market quicker and not carry the overhead that we would have had to carry if we were doing our own manufacturing.”

In business since 1995, RiverStar has been involved in the evolution of the AB Kiosk over the last six years. In 2011, an entrepreneur came to the company with an idea for a bar Breathalyzer™. With RiverStar’s help, that idea became the Intoxbox, a bar device to test breath levels utilizing law-enforcement-grade technology.

“We created a partnership with them and started assembling units,” recalled RiverStar Program Manager Bryan Lande, who has worked with PKT throughout the process.

Lande said the transition from the bar model to the offender monitoring unit was a natural one. “We had already built the bar unit. The technology inside was easily adapted into offender management. The hardware did not change. We just had to create the software platform.”

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Cost-Effective
The AB Kiosk Offender Management Platform enables completely automated alcohol screening. Thumb print identity verification and wide-angle video recording allow secure non-supervised testing. The AB Kiosk is equipped with an industry-leading fuel cell sensor, deep lung pressure sensor, and two-part air chamber.

This cost-effective monitoring tool for both drunken driving offenders and non-violent offenders is touted as a win-win: saving municipalities money and potentially saving lives.

“We are focused on law enforcement and finding ways to make dealing with a low-risk, but difficult offender population, easy and straight forward without human supervision,” noted McKinney.

Municipalities requesting the ABK unit pay a monthly maintenance fee. The kiosk is precise and easy to use. It calls offenders to let them know they need to come in for a test, guides them through
the process, collects the cash or credit card fee, and sends the results directly to the parole officer. Revenue generated from fees paid by offenders is split between the municipality and PKT.

Manufacturing and More
Specializing in consumer packaged goods, original equipment manufacturing services, robotics and electronics, RiverStar employs 40 people at its Winona facility.

McKinney applauds the team at RiverStar for the manufacturing expertise and cost-saving assistance it provided. With a 250+ supplier base, RiverStar helps customers purchase needed components at better prices and better lead times.

“That is what we found with this project,” said Lande. “Some of the vendors were new to us, but a lot of them were vendors we were already working with, and we were able to leverage that buying power for better pricing.”

Most suppliers for the AB Kiosk are based in Minnesota. “The majority of custom components are made here in the state,” said Lande. “The software was written by a company in Winona, and the enclosures were made by a company based in Wabasha.”

The product was beta tested in Minnesota and Wisconsin early this year, with nationwide sales expected to develop over the next couple years. RiverStar’s technicians assemble the kiosks following a highly-documented process. RiverStar also stores the units and ships directly to the customer.

“We assemble a unit in about seven hours,” noted Lande. “And we usually keep a few in stock. So, if a county called tomorrow, we could get it to them in just a few days. We are here to provide a service and turnaround is a huge part of that.” pm_endmarkred-e1320337243152


LEAH CALL is a freelance writer who works with RiverStar. For more information about RiverStar, go to www.riverstarinc.com or call 507-452-5109.

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

 

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