Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $519,537 In Regional Economic Development

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors approved the investment of $519,537 in support of regional economic development. The investments are with four early-stage technology companies and seven 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, Center 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 start 398 new companies, developed 865 new products and processes, created 13,931 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and retained 20,772 existing jobs. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania is headquartered on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. It has regional offices in Lewisburg, Reading, and Wilkes-Barre, and operates Ben Franklin TechVentures, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility, in Bethlehem.
Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments:

GrantAdler, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Complete development of a new vascular access port and support an expanded sales and distribution effort. GrantAdler is developing and producing a new line of implantable products that allow easier, catheterized access to blood vessels for a variety of procedures. The company’s initial focus is access for administering chemotherapy drugs and for conducting kidney dialysis. Grand Adler’s first product, Rhapsody, which received FDA approval in 2007, has unique design features that make it competitive in the chemotherapy infusion port market.

hField Technologies, Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $70,000
Continue commercialization of the Wi-Fire™, an innovative, patent-pending wireless adapter for the mobile computer user, and fund new product line developments. hField’s proprietary technology reduces deadspots and effectively triples Wi-Fi coverage, increasing productivity and eliminating the frustrations often associated with Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fire provides reliable and fast connections even where the typical adapter fails to connect. In addition, it allows infrastructure operators to expand coverage without increased capital expenditures.

Penn Truss Systems, LLC, Middleburg, Snyder County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Evaluate new product manufacturing capabilities and increase staffing to meet growing production and operation demands for this manufacturer of roof and floor trusses. Expand marketing activities to continue to build demand.

Store Eyes, Inc., Allentown, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Conduct a pilot program of the Store Eyes retail audit business system with a major grocery retailer and packaged goods manufacturers. The company’s patent-pending business system cost-effectively captures digital images of conditions in retail stores on a timely and regular basis providing actionable data for the first time. The cost per observation is 1/100th of the cost of the manual processes currently in place.  Successful pilot results will lead to program expansion in 2010.
Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments:

Clark Technology Systems, Inc., Milton, Northumberland County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
University Partner: Susquehanna University
Complete the implementation of the Suppliers Excellence Alliance’s Roadmap, which involves establishing a process management system for continuous improvement at this fabricator of lubrication equipment for chemical industries and refineries worldwide. Also design a database structure for implementation company-wide. This will help Clark compete by producing systems better, faster, and cheaper.

Coates Toners, Dallas, Luzerne County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Conduct a facilities evaluation and phased implementation for the installation and start-up of a new color toner production line. Coates Toners currently produces monochrome toner for non-impact printers and copiers, and is aiming to begin manufacturing color toner. Its clients are original equipment manufacturers for high-speed print engines and the aftermarket that produce compatible cartridges for major companies in the printer industry.

Eckman Building Components, Lehighton, Carbon County
Ben Franklin Investment: $31,750
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Optimize the manufacturing facility layout and equipment installation plan at this designer, manufacturer, and distributor of pre-fabricated wooden roof and floor trusses. This will allow the company to reduce production costs for SpaceJoist, a new product that is light-weight, green, and eliminates the need for electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians to cut and drill roof trusses at job sites.

Michelman-Cancelliere Iron Works, Lehigh Valley, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $19,900
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Analyze all manufacturing and support areas at this structural steel fabrication firm. Develop and implement plans to increase productivity, reduce costs, standardize production, and track operational costs during each job to keep jobs on or under budget. Michelman-Cancelliere Ironworks specializes in the fabrication and machining of structural components for bridges and commercial/industrial building superstructures.

Reading Alloys, Inc., Robesonia, Berks County
Ben Franklin Investment: $6,887
University Partner: Lehigh University
Complete mechanical performance evaluations of a new powdered titanium alloy product being introduced to the market. Reading Alloys’ products are used for critical applications in aerospace, marine, petroleum, medical, and foundry industries.

Sealstrip Corporation, Boyertown, Berks County
Ben Franklin Investment: $30,000
University Partner: Lehigh University
Increase the effectiveness of the engineering department and machine shop at this designer and manufacturer of easy-open and reseal systems for flexible packaging. Implement improved cost evaluation procedures to reduce engineering design and inventory costs.

Tray-Pak Corporation, Reading, Berks County
Ben Franklin Investment: $11,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Develop a facility plan that supports the company’s strategic growth plan to increase capacity. Address manufacturing operations on an enterprise-wide level that optimizes space and material resources. Tray-Pak manufactures custom thermoformed packaging, with clients in the confectionary, baked goods, and fast food industries, among others.