S. Howes, based in Silver Creek, is a 164-year-old designer and manufacturer of process equipment used in the mixing, conveying, separating, and sizing of bulk solid materials.
Frederick Mertz, president of S. Howes, and his team needed funding to design, build and test a scaled-down version of its thermal screw conveyor, equipment used to either heat up or cool down materials. The company’s technology uses an indirect form of heat transfer, a mechanical process that eliminates the need for emissions and therefore is more environmentally friendly. The idea was to reduce the size of the unit by 30 to 50 percent while achieving the same heat transfer, making for a much more efficient process and a far more competitive design.
S. Howes partnered with the Research Foundation for SUNY and the New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI) at the University at Buffalo to apply for a 2018 FuzeHub Manufacturing Grant and received $49,992. The company used the award to build a prototype of its scaled-down thermal screw conveyor for use as a demonstration unit, enabling customers to test the equipment with their materials before making a purchasing decision. This included creating detailed design and fabrication drawings, procuring materials, and completing the prototype. Thermodynamic modeling and trial testing were also accomplished, leading to the successful completion of the project.
The new demonstration unit has enabled S. Howes to showcase the increased efficiency of its improved design to multiple customers, which has led to increases in sales, revenue and hiring. It has sold over $750,000 a year in conveyors since the completion of the project.