Photographer / Eli Beaverson
Twenty years ago, David Novak began carving out a unique niche for himself within the electronic and software engineering business, while working out of his home in Westfield. Since then, Novak has considerably expanded his business, Dajac, Inc., and has had a hand in designing products currently in use across the globe.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and the kind of thing we do is fairly specialized,” Novak says. “We’ve written custom software from the ground up, and we’ve done systems worldwide that are in places like Mexico, China and Taiwan.”
After finishing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Kansas State University, Novak stayed at KSU to obtain a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1994, with a focus on machine vision and image processing.
“Coming out of high school I was very interested in electronics and software,” Novak says. “I knew it would be a neat field to go into.”
Soon after finishing his master’s degree, Novak went to Work for Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation in Emporia, Kansas, where he helped to design headlamp alignment equipment – an experience that would eventually inspire him to launch his own company with a focus on similar technology.
Novak moved to Central Indiana in the late 1990s to work for Thomson, a consumer electronics company, where he helped to develop some of the first high-definition televisions. In 2000 he decided it was time to strike out on his own after being asked to design an inspection system for a manufacturing plant in Seymour, Indiana, and Novak spent several years launching Dajac, which now not only offers headlamp alignment and validation but also a range of additional electronics and software engineering solutions.
“It was a matter of working more than one job at a time for those first several years, and building the company out,” Novak says. “A big part of my master’s degree was focused on machine vision and image processing, so that fit right in with what I like to do.”
Today, Dajac consists of three divisions including its Osprey series of headlamp alignment and validation systems, for use primarily in vehicle headlamps. The company uses a computer-based operating system for its Osprey line, in conjunction with a high-resolution camera, and the system can be used on manufacturing and vehicle assembly lines.
Dajac also offers a remote I/O (input/output) line of products for automation of various systems including electronics and machinery.
“Our Expert I/O line was designed specifically for use with our Osprey systems to control switches and lamps within the machine,” Novak explains. “We also offer it as a stand-alone unit. We’re working on some new models at the moment.”
Lastly, Dajac offers electronics and software engineering contract services and can develop and design products tailored to specific needs.
“It someone has an idea and they’re not sure how to make it happen, that’s where our electronics and software engineering can help,” Novak says. “We can write software. It really just depends on what the customer needs.”
Dajac recently worked with Matrix Design Group on a system that measures gas levels in coal mines, to prevent accumulation of carbon monoxide for the safety of those working in mines.
“Most recently we also worked with a company that has ties to the Nigerian government, to track the delivery of petroleum fuel from its source to its end customer,” Novak says. “That involved cellular communications and Wi-Fi. It was a fun project.”
Dajac has remained a small company through the years and currently consists of six employees working in its three divisions.
“Being small keeps us nimble, and we’re very customer responsive,” Novak says. “We treat every project like it’s our own and provide a robust solution. Even though we’re smaller, I’ve incorporated a lot of the concepts I learned coming from Thomson and developing consumer electronics, with high-volume production.”
Later this year, the Dajac team will relocate from Westfield to a bigger facility in Sheridan, and Novak says the decision to move stemmed from a simple realization that his company has expanded its services over the years and needs to physically expand as a result.
“We’re bursting at the seams in Westfield, and we need storage space and calibration space for the headlamp alignment and validation,” Novak says. “There’s just not enough space here to do it, and we’re continuing to grow. We like this area – it’s very similar to Kansas City where I grew up. There’s a lot of manufacturing in this area, which is a good fit geographically for us.”
Dajac, Inc. is located at 17406 Tiller Court, Suite 600 in Westfield. For more info including details on products and services, call 317-608-0500 and visit dajac.com.