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Fluid Genius Challenge

Identify a recurring problem that plagues your industry and could be solved using a combination of fluid system components. Read Overview...
Total Prize Amount

Create the manufacturing infrastructure of the future

The world needs more Macgyvers like you. You have an extraordinary knack for solving problems and creating improvements.

We need your ingenuity to define a recurring problem in a critical gas or liquid process and develop a solution to that problem using fluid system components. Examples of fluid system components are items like valves, tubing, filters, regulators, fittings, etc. that work on tubing 2" or smaller in diameter.

The challenge is ideal for someone in engineering, operations, or maintenance. The industry could be aerospace, chemical/petrochemical, food processing, life sciences, oil and gas, power, semiconductor, ship building, alternative energy or any other industry with a critical gas or liquid application.

Do you have a recurring problem but no solution? We want to hear about that too!


What you can do to cause a breakthrough

  • Click "Follow the Challenge" above to be notified of any status updates to the challenge.
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  • Leave a comment in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.

What are fluid systems? Fluid systems heat, cool, pressurize, purify, produce energy, or in some other way manage a liquid or gas using fluidic components such as (but not limited to) valves, tubing, filters, regulators and fittings.



In industrial situations, there is an important but unglamorous need to manage manufacturing systems.  Constant monitoring and handling is done by engineers and technicians in the field who are relied upon to “keep things running.”  It’s people like you who are working on the ground and are in the position to actually see what’s happening—what’s just not working that well, and maybe a way it could be fixed or greatly improved.

Whether the goal is purity, simplicity, high efficiency, pressure optimization, higher yield, temperature control, prevention of bad outcomes, or other manufacturing measure, it can often be improved.  It may not be rocket science, but everyday heroes can make the system perform a lot better.

Sometimes the people who actually see the situation and possible solution simply don’t bring them forward.  When they do speak up, who is taking note?  And what’s the incentive to propose something new, however modest the improvement?  Perhaps all that’s needed is the chance and reason to be heard.

We’re all-ears and listening keenly to you!



What is a fluid system?

What fluid system components should I incorporate into my product?

Here is a list of common components in a fluid system. Your product design should contain primarily high quality, stainless steel fluidic components in a size of 2” or less. Ideally, the component cost will comprise at least 20% of the total value of your product.

  • Tube Fittings are components that connect to tubing.
  • Valves regulate, direct or control the flow of a liquid or gas by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways.
  • Check and Relief Valves prevent the flow of a liquid or gas in one direction or relieve the pressure.
  • Regulators provide reliable pressure control.
  • Quick Connects are an easy way to connect and disconnect fluid lines.
  • Measurement devices such as gauges, flow sensors and thermometers
  • Tubing can be made in a wide range of sizes, forms, and alloys and other materials such as stainless steel, nylon, and rubber.
  • Filters allow you to filter your liquids and gasses, preventing pump contamination and damage.

What is a fluid systems solution?

In an industrial application, it is a solution that combines multiple high quality stainless steel fluid system components into a module, system, or sub-system.  These are often then installed in a larger fluid system.  Examples of fluid systems solutions:

  •  A ‘field station’ solution that combines a pressure indicator, pressure regulator, ball valve, filter, and relief valve.  The field station solution reduces gas pressure so that gas samples can be quickly obtained.
  • A ‘calibration and switching’ solution combines a number of regulators, valves and filters to allow measurement of multiple fluids (instead of having regulators, valves and filters for each fluid).


Each improvement in the process makes an impact.  The impact of some of these improvements can help drive significantly more efficient, safe, profitable, industrial processes across various manufacturing sectors.



Our Challenge is to define a recurring problem in a gas or liquid process that plagues your industry; and develop a solution that uses high quality stainless steel fluid system components. Your solution design should contain high quality, stainless steel fluid system components in a size of 2” or less; these components will make up a good portion of the total cost (typically at least 20%).

The Challenge is ideal for someone in engineering, operations, or maintenance. You will likely be on the “frontline” of an industrial plant or facility and in a position to actually understand what’s happening. The industry could be aerospace, chemical/petrochemical, food processing, life sciences, oil and gas, power, alternative energy, semiconductor, ship building, process manufacturing or any other industry where a gas or liquid plays a critical role.

This competition offers a total prize of up to US$30,000 for defining industrial fluid control problems/situations to be addressed, and for proposing a solution.  This competition will be run simultaneously with the Onnovate NAGGING FLUID SYSTEM Challenge.

Entrants that present the best combined problem and solution will win:

    1st Prize:            $15,000 

    2nd Prize:          $10,000

    3rd Prize:           $  5,000


Solutions that can be applied to more than one problem/situation or can be used across industries are highly encouraged.



Entrants will submit a description of the situation that involves the use of fluid control components, fluid control devices/accessories, or fluid control equipment, as well as the proposed solution. The entrant will submit as much detail as necessary to describe and build their case for the judging panel.

Entrants must submit using the online submission form. Entrants may upload renderings/ sketches, CAD drawings, comparative examples, photos or other media to their submission.





% Importance

Problem Definition (25%)




The overall problem is well described, including the situation around it. 


Cost of the problem

The annual cost of the problem to the manufacturing facility is substantial. Total costs across facilities or industries are substantial. Calculations are reasonable.



The circumstances surrounding the problem are detailed.  The reason(s) why the problem hasn’t been fixed are also provided. 



The problem is significant and pervasive. Justifications are complete and supported by data.


Proposed Solution (75%)



Solution description

The solution is well designed and solves the problem. The solution includes a layout of the solution (sketch, 2D CAD drawing, etc.).


Benefits of the solution

The cost to build and install the solution is justified, implementation of the solution is financially viable, and the costs associated with the problem are reduced.


Revenue from fluid system components

The solution has good potential to generate revenue, from both:

  • Components: The solution includes a significant portion of solution fluid system components;
  • Total revenue: The combination of the component percentage and pervasiveness of the problem equals good overall revenue potential

The solution can be configured, built, and used in actual, existing fluid control situations.  The solution includes a bill of materials of the components used in the system.


Implementation Process

There is a viable way for your solution to actually be implemented; it’s a realistic response to the problem.


Potential Roadblocks

Potential roadblocks for why someone might not agree to implement your solution are detailed along with the justification you might use to convince them otherwise.


Ingenuity and Simplicity

Solution is insightful, creative, simple, elegant, and/or resourceful.







Participation Eligibility:  The Challenge is open to all individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams. Teams may originate from any country. Submissions must be made in English. All prize-related communication will be in English.

No specific qualifications or expertise in working with fluid management systems is required.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Registration and Submissions: Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the HeroX.com website, on or before dates noted on timeline by [insert date], noon EST. All uploads must be in PDF format.  No late submissions will be accepted.

Selection of Winners:  Based on the judging criteria, up to 3 prizes for the solution will be awarded.  A qualified Judging Panel will determine winners.

Intellectual Property:  All intellectual property rights, if any, will remain with you, the innovator. If the Challenge Sponsor notifies you that your submission is eligible for a prize, you must agree to grant the sponsor a lifetime irrevocable, non-exclusive royalty free license to all such intellectual property rights. Any improvements made by the Challenge Sponsor are owned by them. Please review the Challenge-Specific Agreement for full details on intellectual property.

Judging Panel:  The determination of the winners will be made by a group of people who with deep insight for fluid systems management.  Judges will have expertise in different industries that use fluid system equipment and components; in the design, installation and maintenance of fluid systems; or in the operations and/or business management where fluid processes are used.


Eligibility and Confidentiality

Entrants are highly encouraged to ensure that they describe problems and solutions that are not proprietary and will not violate any employer confidentiality agreements.  Examples of problems and solutions that keep within employer agreements can include situations that occur with similar types of manufacturing systems or are reliably seen across an industry.

The goal of the competition is to harness industry insight toward fluid system management in general, not to describe and solve the problems of an individual company.  Entrants should be aware of any restrictions to participation and should take care not to disclose proprietary information. 

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