SOURCE: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

August 07, 2013 14:05 ET

Ben Franklin to Invest $324,500 in Regional Economic Development

BETHLEHEM, PA--(Marketwired - Aug 7, 2013) - The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $315,700 in regional companies. BFTP/NEP is an award-winning, state-funded economic development organization that links early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. BFTP is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,479 new jobs and retain 21,459 existing jobs, to start 429 new companies, and to develop 1,127 new products and processes. Ben Franklin has returned $3.60 to Pennsylvania for every $1.00 invested in the program. 

BFTP/NEP will invest in early-stage technology firms through loans:

EthosGen LLC, Wilkes-Barre - $115,000
Continue commercialization efforts for EthosGen's proprietary on-site alternative energy waste-heat-to-electrical-power generator that produces electricity from sustainable and renewable sources. Build a sales force, secure necessary engineering talent, and begin installations from initial contracts. EthosGen's generator produces energy from waste heat from industrial, solar, and biomass sources. The power produced provides on-site, consistent, secure electricity in a highly sustainable and environmentally conscious manner by capturing current, emission-free waste heat streams.

LifeAire Systems, LLC, Allentown - $40,000
Conduct a series of test programs to validate the effectiveness of LifeAire Systems' air purification technology in a hospital setting, and expand marketing efforts for selling the units to In Vitro Fertilization laboratories. LifeAire Systems has developed and patented a proprietary in-duct air purification system for environments in which air quality is critical. Recent research indicates that 1.7 million patients in the U.S. acquire a Hospital Acquired Infection each year with an associated cost burden of $30-45B annually. These infections create avoidable complications, and contribute to increased readmission rates, morbidity, mortality, and significant additional costs borne by the hospital. LifeAire's technology has been installed in and is protecting the highly sensitive clinical setting of In Vitro Fertilization, and has resulted in a significant improvement in clinical pregnancy rates in multiple installations throughout the U.S. There is also considerable international interest in the system. The company is planning to expand into infection control for critical hospital applications such as operating rooms, intensive care units, burn centers, and long-term care facilities.

Map Decisions, LLC, Bethlehem - $13,200
Identify resources for marketing and sales support to help commercialize Map Decisions' field information management software system. Map Decisions' MapCollect™ software platform replaces outdated methods of data collection such as paper forms, cameras, video, spreadsheets, and hard-to-use, expensive professional GPS units. MapCollect is a simple, affordable, and flexible solution that operates on consumer-grade mobile devices and allows users to process data on an integrated web-based information management and work order system. MapCollect provides local government and field-oriented industries such as engineering and construction companies with a solution that transforms how and where customers collect, visualize, and utilize field data to improve business processes and decision-making.

Zero Rain, LLC, Mildred - $50,000
Begin operations to apply a new, proprietary chemical to natural fabrics and finished apparel that makes them water-repellant and resistant to stains and odors. The treatment, PerfectDry, works on all natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, wool, and cashmere. Treated fabric retains its natural feel, remains breathable, and is indistinguishable from its untreated state. PerfectDry will allow, for example, a delicate fabric like silk to be machine washed, or used to construct a rain coat. Initial target markets include the military, outdoor clothing, and women's apparel.

Ben Franklin will invest in the following established manufacturer companies in 1:1 matching grants for work with a university partner.

Alpha Packaging, Bethlehem - $48,000
With Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center, implement practices and install equipment to reduce energy consumption by 20% at this manufacturer of plastic bottles and jars primarily for the nutritional, pharmaceutical, personal care, housewares, consumer chemical, and food and beverage markets. The plastic container industry is highly competitive both domestically and internationally, and controlling energy costs is essential to maintaining competitive advantage. The first year of this project yielded an 8% reduction in electrical energy costs and a 25% reduction in scrap loss. Additional opportunities for savings will be developed.

East Penn Manufacturing Company, Lyon Station - $48,000
With the Emerging Technologies Application Center at Northampton Community College, develop a complete analysis of front-end considerations in support of the company's new advanced battery products. Address packaging, transport, storage, safety, and precautions in materials handling. East Penn Manufacturing, the largest manufacturing employer in Berks County, produces thousands of different sizes and types of batteries, battery accessories, and wire and cable products for a variety of applications.

Precise Graphix, Emmaus - $10,300
With Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center, improve the production layout and optimize the job cost analysis process at this designer, fabricator, and installer of interior décor, signage, and store fixtures. The analysis will lead to more effective scheduling utilization and increased profitability, as well as an improved layout of the manufacturing operations to streamline process flow. Precise Graphix performs short production runs primarily for retail clients.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Laura S. Eppler
    Director of Marketing
    Phone: (610) 758-5237
    e-mail: Email Contact