FuzeHub Announces First Round of 2022 Grant Awards to Support Innovations in Manufacturing throughout New York State

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Susan Bardack
Phone: (518) 867-7940

Patty Rechberger/FuzeHub

FuzeHub’s Manufacturing Grants program awards $450,000 in grants to facilitate research and development, technical advancements and process improvements for New York State manufacturers.


(Albany, NY – April 12, 2022) – FuzeHub, a not-for-profit organization providing small to medium-sized manufacturers with guided access to an extensive network of industry experts, programs and resources to solve business growth challenges, recently awarded ten collaborative projects through its Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund.

The Innovation Fund, consisting of more than $1 million annually, supports a set of activities designed to spur technology development and commercialization across New York State.

As part of the Fund, FuzeHub offers Manufacturing Grants to New York State not-for-profit organizations, including higher education institutions, that propose innovative projects in partnership with a New York State small to medium-sized manufacturer. Project categories cover adoption of new technology to enhance a process and/or product, prototype development, design for manufacturing, proof-of-concept manufacturing, certain equipment purchases, manufacturing scale-up, and other projects to advance manufacturing capabilities.

In addition, the Innovation Fund is used to provide assistance to early-stage companies through FuzeHub’s annual Commercialization Competition, which will take place this fall.

The Innovation Fund is made possible through funding from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). New for 2022, FuzeHub received additional funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), supporting additional awards benefiting start-up companies.

“It’s exciting to see projects awarded from across New York State. These collaborations represent a multitude of industries, from medical devices to agriculture to clean energy, and support key economic resilience in reshoring and sustainability. This breadth of technologies and forward thinking will strengthen New York as a hub for innovation”

– FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc.

“We focus on finding transformational projects, and you can see from the awards that there is a high level of innovation being generated in New York State.” said Patty Rechberger, the Innovation Fund Manager at FuzeHub. “Several start-up manufacturers will benefit from these grants, as well as a company that has been in business for more than a century, all aiming to create the next generation of products in their respective industries. I look forward to working with them.”

FuzeHub is pleased to announce the grantees:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering/ Douglas Outdoors, LLC & InSitu Composites, LLC $49,303 (Capital Region/ Central New York)
Transformational Manufacturing of Thin Composite Prepreg
Leveraging previous design and prototyping work sponsored by Douglas Outdoors, LLC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will design, engineer, and build a small-scale R&D machine to manufacture thin thermoset prepreg (fiber reinforcement pre-impregnated with resin then semi-cured) for the company to use in high-performance fishing rods made of advanced composites. The R&D machine and future production versions will allow Douglas to make the small quantities of ultra-thin, narrow-width prepreg needed to manufacture fishing rods without having to rely on expensive and limited-availability material from large manufacturers that require large minimum order quantities. The company, which currently imports rods, will use the new manufacturing capability to more easily design innovative products, onshore production to NY State, have a unique competitive advantage over domestic and international competitors, and potentially sell specialty prepreg material to other US companies.

Icahn School of Medicine, Division of Nephrology/ Praxis Powder Technology, Inc. $50,000 (New York City/ Capital Region)
Manufacturability Optimization of a Novel Vascular Access Device
Nearly 1% of the US federal budget is spent on dialysis. Treatment usually takes place three times a week at specialized clinics. Home dialysis would be far less costly and more convenient for patients, but is challenging for many. Engineers at the Icahn school of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC have developed an implantable device called SEAL (Safe Entry port for Av fistuLae) that directs a dialysis needle into the vasculature at the right place, angle, and depth with micrometer accuracy; thus, allowing the patients to perform the cannulations at home. They are working with Praxis Powder Technology, Inc. in Queensbury, NY to optimize the design for manufacture. Bringing SEAL to the marketplace will allow almost 500,000 patients to access home dialysis and may generate an estimated $250M annual global revenue for New York based institutions. Further, the successful commercialization of this product will bring additional manufacturing jobs to New York.

Clarkson University, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering/ SMART Pad LLC $50,000 (North Country/ Capital Region)
Development of novel polishing pads for sub 7 nm semiconductor manufacturing
Chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) pad innovation has been driven by novel materials, geometries, micro-features to enable smaller features and complex integration schemes in the devices. However, devices at 7 nm node and beyond have more stringent requirements for the level of acceptable CMP-related defects that cannot be met by current pad technology. In this project, Clarkson University and SMART PAD LLC aim to design the patterns of micro-features on the surface of the CMP pad to increase Peripheral Length and complicate the slurry flow-through with an increase of Contact Area between wafer and pad during the CMP process. This will allow them to not only overcome the technical challenges of CMP in the semiconductor industry such as post-CMP wafer-level uniformity, chip-level topography, planarization efficiency, and defects, but also expand the semiconductor material supply chain in Upstate New York.

Columbia University, Department of Psychiatry/ Soterix Medical Inc $38,860 (New York City)
Individualized functionally-targeted repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation using a novel electromagnetic tracking system for treatment of auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a promising new treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders that delivers brief magnetic pulses to modulate focal brain circuit activity. Standard targeting uses scalp landmarks, which do not account for individual variations in brain organization. TMS has been investigated as a treatment for hallucinations in schizophrenia, but lack of personalization has led to mixed results. The current project combines Soterix’s novel electromagnetic neuronavigation technology and Columbia’s clinical expertise to pilot personalized MRI-guided TMS for hallucinations in patients unresponsive to medications. The pilot allows Soterix to develop their cloud-based neuronavigation service to include an indication for hallucinations which lays groundwork for delivering the treatment through a viable business model.

Center for Economic Growth/ Nuravine $50,000 (Capital Region/ Mid-Hudson)
Nuravine Indoor Plant Management System; Development and Launch of Flux Advanced Irrigation Controller
Nuravine is developing the Indoor Farming Automation Platform of the Future. Its first product, the Alchemist, automates water nutrient management and analysis for hydroponic systems. This product has saved clients about 100 hours of work per month while increasing their yields by 10%. The next evolution of the platform, the Flux, will deliver nutrient mixtures to different zones throughout an indoor farming facility and provide further data on the systems operations.

University at Buffalo, NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics/ S. Howes LLC $49,972 (Western New York)
Development and Manufacturing of a Ploughshare Mixing/Reactor Prototype for Energy Storage Market
University at Buffalo’s NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI) has partnered with S. Howes LLC, a 160-year-old manufacturer of process equipment that has operated in the same location in Silver Creek, NY since 1856, to develop and launch a new, novel Ploughshare Mixer. The new mixer will significantly improve the mixing/reaction time of advanced energy materials. The customizable mixer design targets the increasing demand for battery and energy-related materials used for energy storage in automobiles as well as the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The project enables the design, procurement, fabrication and product/system testing and validation/analysis prior to launch and delivery to current and pending customers. The ability to deliver specialized equipment to meet customer’s needs will give S. Howes a significant competitive advantage that will allow the company to close more sales, grow their operations, and create new manufacturing jobs in New York State.

University at Albany, Chemistry/ SFluor $46,612 (Capital Region)
Preparation of Tetrafluorosulfanyl-containing Photopolymer Prototypes
SFluor is developing a new class of fast-curing, durable, environmentally friendly aerospace coatings that can reduce aircraft maintenance downtime by at least 50% and extend the lifetime of existing aircraft. This innovation is based on the discovery of a polymer that can be rapidly photocured with UV irradiation to form hard, chemically resistant, thermally stable, and abrasion-resistant coatings that may reduce lost in-revenue-service time by facilitating more rapid returns to service and reducing operator and maintainer expense. Qualified SFluor polymer prototype samples will be prepared that meet Military Performance Specifications (MIL-PRF-85285E), and subsequently Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, and other airframers’ standards for consideration of these and other potential aerospace customers.

City College, Mechanical Engineering/ Da Capo Innovations, Inc. $15,253 (New York City)
Prototyping of a Flexible and Retractable Wing Structure for Drone Applications
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are remotely piloted or autonomous aerial vehicles used widely in civilian and military applications. This project proposed a flexible, expandable and retractable drone wing design that can allow a UAV to fly as a fixed-wing drone yet store its wing into pre-designed geometry to reduce its overall profile to navigate through narrow passages. The wing structure has air channels inside the structure to achieve expansion or retraction by manipulating the air pressure in these channels. It has varying wall thickness to create artificial crease lines to control folding patterns. Its applications can go beyond UAV applications, for example, the same technology can be utilized in space applications where lightweight structures can be stored in tight storage space and expanded without heavy mechanical subsystems.

University of Rochester Hajim School, ECE Department/ Seeqc $50,000 (Finger Lakes/ Mid-Hudson)
Smart Single-Photon Sensors for Quantum Information Technologies
It is widely accepted in the scientific community that the twenty-first century will be the quantum age, with quantum information technologies like quantum computing and quantum communication dramatically changing how we perceive reality and assuring absolute, unbreakable security of our global communications. In this project, we intend to develop and manufacture the next-generation, single-optical–photon Smart Sensor, based on superconducting nanostripe single-photon detectors integrated directly on chip with Josephson-junction–based digital processing circuitry. Smart Sensors will target applications in optical quantum networks and quantum information, such as high data rate quantum key-distribution schemes, single-photon photonics, or trapped ion quantum computing. Smart Sensors will also find wide-range applications in more conventional military and commercial systems that require ultra-sensitive, very-low light imaging for, e.g., surveillance or medical optical tomography.

Alfred University, Mechanical Engineering/ Aestus Energy Storage, LLC & Ramboll Integrated Solutions Inc $50,000 (Western New York/ Finger Lakes/ Central New York)
High efficiency, closed loop, thermal energy storage system for renewable and non-renewable power sources to help with power storage and/or grid balancing applications
Dr. Amit Maha of Alfred University’s Mechanical Engineering Department will partner with Aestus Energy Storage to perform the assessment of heat sink vessel manufacturing methods and quantify the experimental investigations, by performing measurements of gas flow, pressure drop, temperature gradients to provide realistic heat storage capability of the Aestus design ceramic core heat sink vessel. This heat sink vessel is a key component in implementing a high efficiency, zero emission energy storage system that can be readily synchronized to an existing power line utility or micro grid. This system offers the ability to dispatch on-demand power to an electric load by storing energy from renewable energy and balance the grid power demand.

Round 2 of the Manufacturing Grants opened on April 1, and FuzeHub will be accepting applications until April 29.

For more information about the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, visit www.fuzehub.com/innovation-fund/ or Contact Patty Rechberger, Innovation Fund Manager.

About Jeff Lawrence
During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as executive vice president and MEP Center Director, Jeff Lawrence directed programs of direct assistance to manufacturers and technology companies to increase their competitiveness. He is remembered for being an invaluable and generous mentor to many in the area’s business community and a tireless advocate for manufacturing innovation throughout New York.

About FuzeHub
FuzeHub is a not-for-profit organization that connects New York’s small to medium-sized manufacturing companies to the resources, programs and expertise they need for technology commercialization, innovation, and business growth. Through our custom assessment, matching, and referral platform, we help companies navigate New York’s robust network of industry experts at Manufacturing Extension Partners centers, universities, economic development organizations, and other providers. FuzeHub is the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP) center, supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation. For more information on FuzeHub, visit www.fuzehub.com.

About Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR)
Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) mission is to advance technology innovation and commercialization in New York State. NYSTAR’s programs are designed to enable new and existing businesses to become more competitive through the use of innovative technologies, and emphasize the importance of working with industry to leverage the state’s technology strengths. Through funded programs that support world-class technology research at colleges and universities, NYSTAR works to promote a robust network of industry-university partnerships throughout the state. It administers the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides direct technology assistance to small to-medium sized manufacturers. For more information on NYSTAR programs, visit www.esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/innovation-development-support.

About U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)
The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s investment policy is designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. This foundation builds upon two key economic drivers – innovation and regional collaboration. Innovation is key to global competitiveness, new and better jobs, a resilient economy, and the attainment of national economic goals. Regional collaboration is essential for economic recovery because regions are the centers of competition in the new global economy and those that work together to leverage resources and use their strengths to overcome weaknesses will fare better than those that do not. EDA encourages its partners around the country to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions. For more information on EDA, visit www.eda.gov/.



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