Innovation Fund Awardees:
Four Companies win $294,791 in Grant Awards to Support Innovation and Manufacturing Throughout New York State.
In early November, The Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund revealed the winners of the last round of the Manufacturing Innovation Fund for 2017. The fifth round of grant awardees plan to add over 40 new jobs to both existing and startup companies across New York State in the next two years. Awarded projects include prototype development, proof-of-concept manufacturing, manufacturing related equipment purchases, manufacturing scale-up, market identification, and other projects to advance manufacturing capabilities. Find the winners here.
CATS-Center for Automation Technologies and Systems at Rensselaer: Fort Miller FAB3 Corp., PEKO Precision Products, Samscreen Inc., MTI Instruments – $75,000 (Capital Region)
This project establishes a state-wide resource for advanced robotic arc welding to beneﬁt manufacturers in multiple industries and across all regions. The latest robotic arc welding technologies are assembled into a shared resource for application development, technology evaluation and training in advanced robotic arc welding.
High Tech Rochester: LighTopTech Corp., BZDesign, Inc. – $75,000 (Finger Lakes)
High Tech Rochester is partnering with an optics startup, LighTopTech Corp., and a design ﬁrm, BZDesign, Inc., to help launch an innovative instrument that enables optical biopsy — noninvasive imaging of cellular structures in the human body — in real time.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/Vistex Composites, LLC – $69,791 (Capital Region)
Vistex Composites LLC is a manufacturing innovation company currently developing and commercializing an advanced composites manufacturing process which is a sustainable alternative to autoclaving, the industry standard. This process drastically reduces capital investment, recurring manufacturing costs, energy consumption, and labor and cycle times while providing equivalent or better quality products. Vistex’s patented technology uses a special Pressure Focusing Layer (PFL) that through a proprietary optimization algorithm and FEA modeling is designed to apply a uniform pressure distribution during the manufacturing process. The proposed work performed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seeks to help the company lower the cost of initial prototypes and reduce turn-around time from order to delivery.
The Research Foundation for The State University of New York on behalf of SUNY New Paltz: Preprocess, Battenkill Fiber, Sunstrand – $75,000 (Mid-Hudson)
The Research Foundation for the State University of New York, on behalf of SUNY New Paltz, is partnering with Battenkill Fibers, Preprocess Inc, and Sunstrand LLC, who are key stakeholders committed to making New York a leader in industrial hemp, to develop a database of properties of technical industrial materials. These technical materials rely on processing to extract the ﬁber and hurd from the bast stalk with innovative processing techniques. As identiﬁed by these partners, the success of hemp in industrial and technical applications is a function of how it compares to other plant-based and man-made materials on a cost and performance basis. The equipment purchased, and housed at SUNY New Paltz, will allow for the group to develop new standardized testing methods speciﬁcally for these highly variable ﬁbers. Thus, the impact of each variation on the ﬁber ﬁneness, ﬁbrillation, strength, and stiﬀness will allow for clear identiﬁcation of key innovative material processing methods.
Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium- Stony Brook University $ 74,890 (2017 Awardee)
The Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium (MTRC) at Stony Brook University is working with Carson Optical, a consumer optics company located in Ronkonkoma, NY, to advance the optics industry. This award will fund a project which will integrate CNC-based machinery with state-of-the art technology employing advanced controls, software & metrology techniques. The expansion of the Long Island-based company into new sectors utilizing these innovative systems will aid Carson in retaining and increasing jobs, such as engineers, skilled technicians and additional support staﬀ. (Long Island)
Syracuse University – Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental Energy & Systems $ 75,000 (2017 Awardee)
Syracuse University will collaborate with NuClimate Air Quality Systems to develop an innovative new technology for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). The project will create a new Advanced HVAC Testbed at the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) that will be designed to support development and testing of prototypes of a variety of new HVAC products from New York ﬁrms. In the ﬁrst use of the new facility, NuClimate will collaborate with SyracuseCoE to reﬁne and test a new HVAC product for dormitories and other residential buildings. NuClimate expects that commercialization of the envisioned new product will increase its sales revenues by 50% and create 10 new jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and professional positions. (Central New York)
University at Buffalo $ 75,000 (2017 Awardee)
Dr. Edward Furlani of the University at Buﬀalo’s Depts. of Electrical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering has partnered with CleanSlate UV and Grantwood Technologies to develop an innovative desktop ultra violet (UV)-based disinfection technology. This project will leverage CleanSlate UV’s current UVC countertop disinfection technology, which enables hospitals and food processing facilities to rapidly sanitize smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. It will also leverage Grantwood Technologies’ optical design expertise and Dr. Furlani’s expertise in photonics. This project will generate at least 10 new advanced manufacturing jobs in Western New York within 12 months. (Western New York)
University of Rochester $ 45,760 (2017 Awardee)
The University of Rochester is proposing to purchase two ophthalmic research instruments, a Visiometrics HD Analyzer, and a LambdaX NIMO, which allow measurement of a contact lens’ prescription, as well as the visual performance and scatter of the contact lens on the eye. These tools will initially be used to support a collaboration with The Institute of Optics and the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester and Clerio Vision, Inc. to support their sponsored research on developing a novel method to manufacture contact lenses. Clerio Vision will leverage this research to advance the diagnostic capability in order to manufacture refractive devices with higher accuracy and to further the understanding of the impact of the LIRIC manufacturing process on optical performance. This project will have a considerable impact on Clerio Vision’s ability to scale up to commercial contact lens manufacturing and is expected to create around 10 jobs in the Rochester region over the next 36 months. (Finger Lakes)
Alfred State – Energy Storage and Conversion Laboratory $75,000 (2017 Awardee)
Alfred State will collaborate with American Fuel Cell, a Rochester-area company that produces Fuel Cell MEAs is illustrative of New York State’s leadership in the field of alternative energies. Alfred’s Energy Storage and Conversion Laboratory will integrate new testing capabilities that will allow for rapid advances in the company’s manufacturing operations, and position the laboratory to pursue other collaborative projects with New York State-based fuel cell companies. American Fuel Cell expects to hire up to ten engineers and five technicians in the next four years with the skillset fostered by this project. (Western New York)
Clarkson University – Shipley Center for Innovation $75,000 (2017 Awardee)
Clarkson University will use these grant funds to outfit its North Country Business Incubator with a ‘whole-building’ compressed air system critical to the operations of tenants like groundbreaking LC Drives, whose unique motor designs are half the size and more efficient than current leading motor designs. Clarkson’s Damon Hall, where the air system will be installed, is designed to house light manufacturing start-ups like LC Drives, and will provide long-term benefits to young manufacturing companies in the region. (North Country)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Industrial and Systems Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Programs $74,616 (2017 Awardee)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is partnering with Ecovative Design—an award-winning biomaterials company famous for replacing synthetic protective packaging and construction materials with sustainable mycelium-based molded products—to help the company transition from a research start-up to a full-scale manufacturer. Upgrades to process flow, quality systems, and key production processes and capabilities will lead to improvements in plant performance including dramatic reductions in waste and increases in equipment utilization, helping Ecovative to meet growing market demand. Ecovative expects a threefold increase in sales and doubling of operations staff when a second shift is added. (Capital Region)
Weill Cornell Medicine’s Laboratory of Bioregenerative Medicine Surgery (LBMS)
$75,000 (2017 Awardee)
Weill Cornell Medicine’s Laboratory of Bioregenerative Medicine Surgery (LBMS) will work with Sterifre Medical Inc. toward the commercialization of a new wound therapy device that delivers a patented therapeutic effluent to a wound site via gas-phase resulting in rapid, pain-free wound disinfection for the treatment of acute & chronic wounds. This treatment has practical and biological advantages over liquid and topical treatments and has the flexibility to account for different therapeutic needs. The FuzeHub Manufacturing Innovation Grant will help the team acquire key data necessary to securing FDA approval for a first-in-human study in 2018. (New York City)
Center for Economic Growth – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is working with ThermoAura Inc. to help them with the integration of new equipment into their manufacturing process to enable the high-volume manufacture of advanced nanocrystalline thermoelectric alloys. ThermoAura is an early stage company commercializing high-performance nanostructured thermoelectrics produced by a unique chemical method. Through working with CEG and the new equipment the project will support, ThermoAura will be able to decrease assembly times by more than four-fold, permit a three-fold increase in the number of parts produced per cycle and yield per-unit manufacturing costs that are the best in the world and up to 20% more competitive with overseas manufacturers.
Clarkson University – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
Clarkson University is creating a new shared laboratory for both academic and industry collaboration in which both will have access to laboratory tools and equipment. The new space, named the Clarkson Biomaterials Characterization Laboratory, will use the Manufacturing Innovation Grant award to purchase a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer/ infrared (IR) microscope for the purpose of developing and manufacturing next-generation metamaterials-enhanced infrared imaging systems for commercial, security and defense markets. Industry demand for the FTIR/IR microscope at Clarkson is driven by Phoebus Optoelectronics LLC, which has been performing metamaterials research, development and commercialization over the last ten years. The project with Clarkson will generate significant economic impact for Phoebus Optoelectronics, Clarkson University, Potsdam and the surrounding communities, including the creation of 10 high quality jobs over the next two years.
Cornell Center for Materials Research – $58,926 (2016 Awardee)
Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and Professor Yong Joo of Cornell University’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are working with IdealChain, a spinoff of Buckingham Manufacturing, who manufactures safety products (harnesses, rescue systems, etc.), to develop and build a bench-scale multi-nozzle Air-Controlled (AC) electrospray system for encapsulation of dyes, to use as stress indicators in safety products. The resulting roll-to-roll electrospray system will be used by IdealChain to fabricate stress-indicating fibers and patches for safety equipment, helping the user to determine when to safely retire their equipment. The manufacturing technology originally developed through the CCMR Industrial Partnerships Program between the Joo Group and Buckingham Manufacturing not only has a large impact on the safety industry, but also wide-ranging ramifications for the fragrance, food, drug delivery and self-healing material industries. Additionally, this project will help IdealChain add 10 new jobs in the next two years.
Cornell Nanoscale Science & Technology Facility – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
The Cornell NanoScale Facility (CNF) at Cornell University has partnered with Xallent LLC to develop a next generation diagnostic tool to more rapidly and economically test and characterize semiconductor devices and thin film materials during manufacturing. This tool is built on Xallent’s innovative nanoscale imaging and probing technology. The ability to rapidly probe and measure electrical components at the nanoscale for diagnostics and failure analysis non-destructively is expected to tap a broad range of industry applications. The Manufacturing Innovation Grant will be used to adapt Xallent’s nanomachine platforms to analytical instruments at the Cornell NanoScale Facility for validation, user interface focus, and reliability studies to ready the company for product launch and scale up. Additionally, this project will help Xallent add 8 new jobs by the end of 2019.
Cornell University – $74,980 (2016 Awardee)
Cornell University researchers and VitaScan have developed the VitaScan diagnostics platform: a low cost and portable instrument that can determine micronutrient deficiencies including vitamin D and iron from a finger stick of blood. A key innovation that makes this possible is the design and manufacturing of a proprietary lateral flow assay that combines blood filtration, chemical mixing, and capture of antibodies into one rapid process. Cornell and VitaScan will together develop a medium-scale manufacturing and packaging process to optimize the procedure and create reliable tests for validation studies. VitaScan will pursue the manufacturing strategy in preparation for commercialization, and plans to create 10 new jobs in the next two years.
Rochester Institute of Technology – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is working with OptiPro Systems on a project to develop an innovative ultrafast-laser-based polishing system and process for optical manufacturing to eliminate polishing waste, long lead-time, and high-cost factors. The laboratory version laser polishing system will be developed in the Laboratory for Advanced Optical Fabrication and Instrumentation by Dr. Jie Qiao and her team at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science with the award-winning research and development (R&D) engineering team led by R&D Manager Edward Fess at OptiPro Systems, a leading manufacturer in Rochester specializing in manufacturing equipment for the fabrication of high-precision optics.
Rochester Institute of Technology (AMPrint Center) – $36,000 (2016 Awardee)
Rochester Institute of Technology’s Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing (AMPrint) Center is working with Sensor Films on a project to define the operating conditions for high throughput additive manufacturing equipment capable of rapidly printing electrically conductive patterns on plastic substrates. The AMPrint Center will purchase an inkjet head assembly to be integrated with currently installed printing equipment to execute the project, adding long term manufacturing prototyping capability to the Center. Sensor Films’ ability to apply the experimental results to a suite of new manufacturing equipment will result in commercially implemented products to be built and sold in 2017 and beyond, and will create eight new high technology jobs in the local economy.
Alfred Technology Resources, Inc DBA IncubatorWorks – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
IncubatorWorks’ project with Emission Logistics will support market identification, manufacturing-related equipment purchase and manufacturing scale-up for emission control devices in vehicles. Emission Logistics’ focus is on the development and manufacture of emission control devices that address the negative health, safety, and environmental impact of exposure to diesel and other fossil fuel emissions.
Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
This project involves the expansion of manufacturing capacity and capability for Extreme Molding, a contract manufacturer, that has had exponential growth inside the Watervliet Arsenal since 2002. Extreme Molding manufactures using silicone and plastic materials often in unique combinations. They do full packaging and order fulfillment for 85% of their customers, shipping around the world including exports to Asia. The primary markets they serve are infants, toddlers, pet care, and high end consumer products.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – $30,000 (2016 Awardee)
The Center of Excellence in Advanced & Sustainable Manufacturing’s proof-of-concept manufacturing project with Markin Tubing will help the company identify new materials and processes to further enhance the performance of its coated steel tubing products, which are primarily sold to the automotive industry. The proposed innovation is designed to have a significant impact on Markin Tubing’s ability to continue to grow and thrive in the Finger Lakes region.
Tech Valley Center of Gravity – $75,000 (2016 Awardee)
The Tech Valley Center of Gravity, a makerspace in Troy, NY, is expanding their services to support NYS manufacturers with a Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC). Manufacturers and start-ups will have access to more equipment that will enable them to build prototypes of manufactured goods. No such center exists in the Capital Region for both entrepreneurs and manufacturers alike to work on prototypes. Five companies have committed to use the RPC in the first year, and as many as 20 companies a year will have access to the Center’s equipment. One Husdon, Shandor Engineering, Beckmann Engineering, Self Array, and Axiom North America, LLC will all use the RPC when it is complete.