Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $620,000 In Regional Economic Development

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $620,000 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:

  1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 16,214 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 22,155 existing jobs, to start 458 new companies, and to develop 1,279 new products and processes. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

BFTP/NEP owns and manages Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem at which it is headquartered. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.

Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments that are provided to clients in the form of loans.

CEWA Technologies, (, Wyomissing
Ben Franklin Investment: $350,000
Complete design, construct, and test prototypes of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish that will deliver power for industrial and institutional applications at a lower cost due to its innovative shape and construction. The dish is capable of providing thermal power for power generation, desalination, and process heat applications at a cost comparable to fossil fuel-based sources of energy without government subsidy. Such cost competitiveness is novel in solar power dishes, and critical to the growth of this alternative energy source.

Good Vittles,Hamburg
Ben Franklin Investment: $56,000
Complete the development and implementation of Good Vittles’ exclusive technology to support its e-commerce marketplace for specialty foods. Specialty foods are certified or unique, ethnic or regional, produced in a specific way or with certain ingredients, and/or in limited supply. Good Vittles provides two e-commerce portals  as direct distribution channels that connect food suppliers with professional chefs and individual consumers. Suppliers will use the company’s proprietary packing process to maintain food freshness using cost-effective shipping methods.

U.S. Specialty Formulations, LLC, (, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Complete the set-up, staffing, and cGMP-approval process for the required facility and procedures to produce sterile injectable pharmaceuticals used in the medical community. Millions of Americans require specialized and custom-compounded drugs, and the current infrastructure is insufficient infrastructure to support their therapies. As an FDA-registered outsourced manufacturer, USF will employ advanced quality and manufacturing controls to comply with new, more stringent federal quality standards.

Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.

Bosch Rexroth Corporation  (, Bethlehem
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
Develop and implement a process to automate data collection that will drive process improvements and enable predictive maintenance for machining centers throughout the company. Bosch Rexroth manufactures motion control equipment, including hydraulic and pneumatic components.

Fidelity Technologies Corporation (, Reading
College Partner: Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technology Applications Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
Develop improved and more mobile tactical electric power generator technology at this manufacturer of electronic, electromechanical, computer products, systems, and services primarily for the U.S. Department of Defense. These new generators meet a need for more compact, reliable, and fuel-efficient and fuel-flexible generators for the military.

Hydro Recovery LP, (, Blossburg
University Partner: The Pennsylvania State University
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
Further develop and optimize the economic extraction of useful materials from residual “frac” water used in the development of natural gas wells. Hydro Recovery’s process converts the used water into a Hydraulic Stimulation Fluid (HSF™) that can subsequently be reused to extract more natural gas. This process eliminates the need to transport wastewater over long distances. Further, recycling frac water into a reusable product will save millions of gallons of freshwater each year and eliminate discharge of treated water into waterways.

Palram Americas Group, (, Kutztown
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $12,500
Complete the development of standard operating procedures in order to maximize efficiencies at this manufacturer of polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride plastic sheets. These standards will enhance safety and reduce both direct and indirect costs, leading to improved competitiveness and customer satisfaction. 

PMF Industries, Inc., (, Williamsport
University Partner: Pennsylvania College of Technology
Ben Franklin Investment: $23,000
Optimize the electrical consumption of the largest motors within the PMF facility. Electrical consumpution represents a significant cost of manufacturing. PMF provides contract manufacturing services with an emphasis on flowforming, which is producing metal parts that are cylindrical, conical, or contoured with precise control of wall thicknesses.  Customers include the aerospace and energy sectors as well as users of precision pressure vessels.

Suburban Testing Laboratories, Inc., ( Reading
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $3,500
Define current and future facility requirements for the installation of a new, centralized walk-in incubator room to service departments within Suburban Testing’s facility. Suburban provides environmental, product, and water testing and analyses for industry and municipalities.