Manufacturers and early-stage tech companies land $620,000 in investments

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Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania's directors approved the investment of $620,000 in support of regional economic development. The nonprofit agency awards these investments to clients as loans and matching funds.

Among the recipients are companies in Reading, Bethlehem, Wyomissing, Hamburg and Kutztown.

“Typically, early stage firms receive the loans and established manufacturers earn the matching funding,” Laura Eppler, director of marketing for Ben Franklin, said this morning. She said one of the agency’s goals is to ensure that each client’s technology has a market.

“For early stage firms, we are looking for a strong management team, a promising marketing niche and that the management team has done its homework to make sure its technology could be commercialized,” Eppler said. “For manufacturers, we are applying innovation; we are funding them to implement innovation in their facility so they can be more competitive.

“Typically, established manufacturers partner with a college or university to access their resources.”

The following early stage company investments are provided to clients as loans:

• CEWA Technologies, Wyomissing. Ben Franklin investment: $350,000.

The company will use the funds to 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 because of its innovative shape and construction.

• 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. Good Vittles provides two e-commerce portals as direct distribution channels that connect food suppliers with professional chefs and individual consumers.

• U.S. Specialty Formulations, LLC, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem. Ben Franklin investment: $100,000.

Complete the set-up, staffing and existing good manufacturing practice regulations-approval process for the required facility and procedures to produce sterile inject-able pharmaceuticals for the medical community. As a Food and Drug Administration-registered outsourced manufacturer, it will employ advanced quality and manufacturing controls to comply with new, more stringent federal quality standards.

Ben Franklin also will invest in the following established manufacturers. The agency provides one-to-one matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation.

• Bosch Rexroth Corp., 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 Corp., 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, fuel-efficient and fuel-flexible generators for the military.

• Palram Americas Group, Kutztown. University partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center. Ben Franklin investment: $12,500.

Complete the development of standard operating procedures to maximize efficiencies at this manufacturer of polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride plastic sheets. The standards will enhance safety and reduce costs, leading to improved competitiveness and customer satisfaction.

• Suburban Testing Laboratories Inc., Reading. University partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center. Ben Franklin investment: $3,500.

Define existing 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.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools. He loves to run and will be competing in his first half-marathon on Nov. 23 to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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