Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $480,300 In Regional Economic Development

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors approved the investment of $480,300 in support of regional economic development. The investments are with five early-stage technology companies and three established manufacturers.

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 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 14,301 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,236 existing jobs, to start 408 new companies, and to develop 948 new products and processes. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania is headquartered on the campus of Lehigh University and operates Ben Franklin TechVentures, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility, in Bethlehem, and the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.

Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments:

Advanced-Tec Materials, LLC, West Hazleton, Luzerne County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Conduct materials testing to optimize the characteristics of formulations and finalize production equipment requirements. Advanced-Tec produces environmentally sound industrial materials, including insulation and fireproofing materials, using proprietary formulations of recycled coal-combustion fly-ash. These materials exhibit fire- and heat-resistant characteristics that create extremely versatile composites that require no heat curing.

CEWA Technologies, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $146,000
Complete design, construct, and test a prototype of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish that will deliver power at a lower cost due to its novel design and the materials used in its construction. The dish, called a toroid solar collector, will be fabricated, assembled, and then tested at Northampton Community College’s Bethlehem campus. The dish is capable of providing thermal power for HVAC, power generation, desalination, and process heat applications at a cost comparable to fossil fuel-based sources of energy.

Gleason Custom Kitchens, Inc., Moosic, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Implement operational efficiencies and market development activities at this manufacturer of custom-built and standard cabinetry for residential and commercial applications. This will allow the company to respond to increased sales volume and expand its presence in additional markets.

HealthOneMed, Inc., Allentown, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Complete an integrated marketing plan and action plan to commercialize HealthOneMed’s first product. HeathOneMed produces the Dispense-a-Pill (DAP), a patented device that dispenses prescription and non-prescription pills according to a programmed schedule. The DAP combines the features of disparate medication devices including pill boxes, dispensers, and medication alert devices into an integrated intelligent medication management system. Features include audible notification to the individual that it is time to take pills, automatic pill dispensing, and telephone notification to family members and/or caregivers when pills are not taken. HealthOneMed’s DAP addresses the growing issue of accidental medication non-compliance.

SolarPA, New Tripoli, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Complete proof-of-concept research for a new, proprietary coating that enhances photovoltaic effects and improves the efficiency of solar cells. SolarPA’s single-layer anti-reflection coating improves optical absorption, thermal transport and emission, light concentration, manipulation, emissivity, reflectivity, and scattering, thereby maximizing the solar energy available for conversion into electricity. This results in increases in solar module efficiency up to 10% and reduced manufacturing costs by up to 10% as compared with current silicon-based technology. The reduced manufacturing costs translate to reduced prices to the consumer, thereby enabling broader market adoption of solar energy.
Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments.

B. Braun Medical, Inc., Allentown, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $10,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Capture how manufacturing parameters affect the end use of products at this manufacturer of medical devices that distributes worldwide. Using this information, B. Braun will develop a maintenance and operational training process at the local facility to improve critical job function knowledge. Heightened awareness of customer requirements and cognizance of quality at the operator and technician level improves quality and reduces waste.

Keystone Potato Products, Hegins, Schuylkill County
Ben Franklin Investment: $12,500
College Partner: Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technologies Applications Center
Conduct a feasibility study to establish the technical and economic viability of a wind energy plant at the Keystone manufacturing site. Keystone produces dehydrated potato flakes and dehydrated potato flour, as well as fresh cut potatoes. The firm currently fuels the plant’s extensive thermal requirements using nearby landfilled gas.
L&H Sign Company, Reading, Berks County
Ben Franklin Investment: $11,800
College Partner: Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technologies Applications Center
Assess the technical and economic feasibility of a proposed rooftop photovoltaic array to address the energy needs of this producer of commercial signage and merchandising systems. Also evaluate an existing coating, drying, and curing operation to identify additional energy-saving measures while increasing product throughput.