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Dublin-based IC3D printers launches crowd funding campaign to manufacture raw material locally

Dublin-based IC3D Printers has launched a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to manufacture 3D printing material locally in Ohio.
The campaign is set to run for 30 days with a goal of raising $20,000 to compliment existing capital. Michael Cao, Owner and Founder of IC3D, says he was persuaded by a friend to use crowd funding to avoid getting banks and interest rates involved. Funds will go toward equipment, leasing factory space, buying materials in bulk, and hiring an operator.
Cao’s goal is to address today’s costly supply chain model of manufacturing 3D printing components. Currently, outside manufacturers supply the plastic filament needed for Cao's 3D printers. Even worse, that filament is designed for use in the plastic welding industry. This sometimes results in an inferior product that may be contaminated.
“The problem is [the plastic welding industry] has very different requirements,” explains Cao, noting that 3D printing is still a young industry. “It has lower quality of requirements, such as cleanliness” and filament diameter. Cao's solution is to manufacture his own 3D printing material in Ohio exclusively for the 3D printing market, allowing him to take some links out of the current supply chain model.

Cao came up with the idea after working as a designer and builder of desktop 3D printers. Customers began asking Cao for filament printing material. At first, he gave it away for free. As this became costly, he began purchasing in bulk, but noticed some quality issues. “It was a frustrating experience,” says Cao, recalling customer complaints. He decided to take his experience in plastics and as an automotive engineer to produce the necessary material himself. Ohio and IC3D’s customers all stand to benefit.
“By obtaining the raw materials and packing the materials ourselves, we’re cutting out those layers from the current supply chain,” explains Cao. “That cost savings will be passed down to the customers.”
Source: Michael Cao
Writer: Joe Baur

Darkside Scientific creates world's first electroluminescent paint for vehicles

Success didn’t come in a blinding “aha” moment, but Andy Zsinko ultimately met a challenge from a buddy to create a unique, long-lasting motorcycle paint job.
Zsinko, founder and chief executive officer of Darkside Scientific in Medina, initially created a sprayable photoluminescent coating that made the motorcycle dazzle. The problem was that it looked that way for only a short time.
After several months of tinkering, however, Zsinko created LumiLor Electroluminescent paint, which continues glowing when electrically energized. It’s the world’s first and only such specialty coating, and the company has several patents pending for it.
Electroluminescence is an optical and electrical condition created when a material emits light in response to an electric current, explains Scott Smith, Darkside Scientific’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“Our LumiLor Electroluminescent paint is activated by an electric current and lights up with simple driver electronics,” he says. “A basic electronics package retrofitted on a motorcycle or car is all that’s needed.”   
Smith notes that the new paint can be used to create different special visual effects. “You can paint multiple fields on your vehicle to animate your paint job, and strobing and sound activation are also among many possible electronic effects with LumiLor.”
The company is developing a network of auto and motorcycle shops to become licensed to apply LumiLor paint. “We’re choosing partners carefully, based on their experience, expertise and capabilities,” Smith explains. “They’ll go through special training and a rigorous certification process to ensure that the work they do represents the quality brand image we’re looking to portray.”
Darkside Scientific plans to make a big splash this March by debuting the world’s first fully electroluminescent-painted motorcycle at Daytona, Florida’s, special Bike Week.
The firm, which was established in 2011, has six employees and plans to expand as business grows.

Source: Scott Smith
Writer: Lynne Meyer

dayton region signature fund distributes $520,000 to area tech startups

The Dayton Region Signature Fund has announced its recent distribution of $520,000 to area tech startups, totaling $1.4 million for 2012. The Dayton Development Coalition manages the fund to assist the growth of technology-based companies.
Launched in September of 2007, over 60 startup businesses comprise the Fund’s portfolio, making a significant difference in the local economy. This latest distribution was raised primarily from the exit of NanoSperse, a design and manufacturing company located at the National Composite Center. Their work consists of manufacturing nano-enhance dispersions for aerospace and industrial uses.
“We support investments that support individual entrepreneurs and grow the region’s key cluster areas,” explains Ray Hagerman, Vice President of Investments at the Dayton Development Coalition. These clusters include Aerospace Systems, Advanced Materials and Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology and Advanced Data Management, and Human Sciences and Healthcare.
Universities and non-profits stand to benefit as well. “The money is going to investors, some of which are universities and non-profits,” explains Hagerman, adding the investment will allow them to have “more money to use for scholarships and to give away to worthy causes.”
Companies aligned with the Fund have received nearly $200 million in additional funding, creating approximately 412 jobs. This clustering of companies has garnered attention from global corporations that are now looking at Dayton as a place to build additional supply chains.
“The Fund’s primary goal is to provide solid returns to its investors,” says Hagerman. “The by-products are jobs and healthy companies.”
Source: Ray Hagerman
Writer: Joe Baur

nortech secures sba contract to grow its flexible electronics cluster

NorTech received one of seven Regional Innovation Cluster contracts from the Small Business Administration to grow its flexible electronics cluster FlexMatters. The four-year, $385,000 contract will allow NorTech to train and assist small companies in the FlexMatters cluster in attracting larger market leaders as customers through its Anchor Customer Engagement (ACE) Academy.
“One of the really important things about this contract is it gives us recognition on a federal basis,” says NorTech vice president Byron Clayton. “Being nationally recognized as an emerging cluster helps us bring more federal funding to the region.”
This is the fourth time the FlexMatters cluster has been recognized on a national level. The ACE Academy will help give the region an upper hand in terms of both jobs and securing the first customers for new technologies.
“It’s designed to help small, emerging businesses capture the first significant customers,” says Clayton of the academy. “It helps them be prepared so if they do get that opportunity to present themselves, they put their best foot forward. The goal is to go away with something concrete.”
Success of these businesses translates into more jobs in the region. “It really helps small businesses grow and create high paying jobs in growth industries,” says Clayton. “We’re already seeing success, and we’re just getting started.”

The SBA award is for one year, with a four year renewal option.

Source: Byron Clayton
Writer: Karin Connelly

'technology days' aims to foster tech transfer between nasa and private sector

NASA will showcase its best developments in its Space Technology Program November 28-30 at NASA Technology Days, held at Cleveland Public Auditorium. The event will allow the public to see what technological developments come out of NASA Glenn Research Center, many of which could be adopted and implemented in the private sector.
NASA Glenn is working with NASA’s Office of Chief Technologies, which conducts ground experiments to further space technology. “Ninety-nine NASA technologies will be showcased,” says Joe Shaw, deputy director of NASA’s Office of Technology Partnerships and Planning. “We want to demonstrate the existing technologies.”
Attendees will have the chance to see technologies ready for commercialization, learn about opportunities to partner with NASA on technology development and meet with major research companies.
The technologies featured can be transferred into a variety of industries, says Shaw, such as advanced energy, automotive, human health and innovative manufacturing. “These are technology experts showing off their technologies,” says Shaw. “Even though they were developed for space aeronautics, they can be broadly used across many sectors. These industries are extremely important, not just for Northeast Ohio, but for to the Midwest. There are a large number of people in these sectors.”
The hope is Technology Days will build partnerships and foster technology transfer between NASA and local businesses. “These technologies can be moved quickly to the commercial sector, which creates economic development, which creates jobs,” says Shaw. This will give companies a chance to learn about the opportunities.”
The event is free and open to the public.

Source: Joe Shaw
Writer: Karin Connelly

tesla nanocoatings expands to stark state for future research and development on corrosion coating

Corrosion is a serious global problem of massive proportions, according to Todd Hawkins, managing director of Massillon’s Tesla NanoCoatings Limited.

In response to the problem, Tesla NanoCoatings worked with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) for five years to engineer Teslan -- a revolutionary carbon nanocoating to control corrosion.

The company recently leased 1,000 square feet of space at Stark State College’s Advanced Technology Center to conduct expanded research and development on Teslan. According to Hawkins, the product has potential applications in the aerospace, petrochemical, transportation, marine and industrial markets.

“Teslan’s foundation is fullerene, the toughest, most resilient and most effective organic protective coating developed for metals,” Hawkins explains. “It’s stronger than diamonds. One of its major characteristics is that, if damaged, it will transfer electrons to the defective site and non-corrosion will occur.”

According to Hawkins, Teslan has undergone extensive exposure and immersion testing in both fresh and sea water by the U.S. Army ERDC in various locations across the country. Other testing has been ongoing internally at NASA and Battelle as well.

“Now’s the time for expanded research and development, and we’re excited about this opportunity with Stark State,” he says. “Collaboration is vital to bringing new ideas to fruition, and we look forward to a very productive relationship with Stark State.” The company will be recruiting engineering students as interns.

The college was instrumental in Tesla NanoCoatings receiving a $100,000 startup award from the Innovation Fund, a regional fund that supports technology-based entrepreneurial endeavors and emerging businesses.

“We’re proud to welcome Tesla NanoCoatings to our campus,” says Para M. Jones, Ph.D., president of Stark State College. “Stark State is a supporting member of the Innovation Fund, and we’re very pleased Tesla NanoCoatings received a startup grant. This funding will assist them in further commercializing their groundbreaking corrosion control coating, and we look forward to their success.”

Hawkins established Tesla NanoCoatings in 2007. The company currently has five employees, and Hawkins anticipates bringing on additional employees by the end of the year.

Source:  Todd Hawkins, Para Jones
Writer: Lynne Meyer

ABS Materials patents chemical sponge that pulls toxins from water

"I want every drop of rain that falls in the state of Ohio to be drinkable," says Stephen Spoonamore, co-founder of ABSMaterials in Wooster. He and his partner and co-founder, Dr. Paul Edmiston, have developed a material that does just that.
The material, called Osorb, is a nanoengineered glass that absorbs non-point source polllution -- pesticides, herbicides, oils, gases and pharmaceuticals -- that make up the constant runoff from impermeable surfaces. ABS has recently secured a patent for the material.
The company, with 35 employees, has just initiated a B-round of seeking growth capital for R&D and expanding its customer base. Areas of research include storm water management, cleanup of water in the fracking process, remediation of former industrial sites and clean-room cleanup. ABS is the industry leader in the technology that cleans the water used in silicon chip fabrication.

“We’re the chemical garbagemen of the clean-room industry,” says Spoonamore.
ABS co-founder Dr. Paul Edmiston, who is the Peterson Professor of Chemistry at the College of Wooster, says, "Founding a technology based company is definitely a team effort. The science side has to be innovative and responsive, while letting the business side lead the efforts to market." Dr. Ediston won the 2011 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award for the development of Osorb.
He adds, “It is incredibly exciting to see the innovations our team has worked on here at the College of Wooster labs move into the commercial space through ABSMaterials. Every day we are making things a little better for water quality.  It is humbling to see the idea just keep growing."

Source: Stephen Spoonamore, Paul Edmiston
Writer: Catherine Podojil

case's swagelok center 'best facility on planet' for microstructural analysis

Arthur Heuer spends a lot of his time studying how to make stainless steel harder and improve its resistance to corrosion. His research is possible thanks to the equipment at the Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis of Materials (SCSAM) on the CWRU campus.
The center has 20 electron microscopes and other instruments for microstructural characterization of materials and surface and near-surface chemical analysis. Basically, SCSAM is home to a lot of expensive equipment that allows industrial and academic users to conduct surface analysis, structural analysis and optic microscopy.
Industrial companies come from around the world to use the $20 million worth of equipment at SCSAM. “We don’t know of any place that has the diversity of instruments and staff that we have,” says Heuer, who is the center’s director. “I modestly claim it’s the best such facility on the planet.”
In a typical year, SCSAM sees 300 users who pay a service contract to use the equipment. Many industrial clients come on a weekly basis. “Our industrial clients like us because we are one-stop shopping,” says Heuer. Academic users pay a lesser rate to use the facility.
The fees cover the operational costs. The service fees are far less than investing in the equipment, even for companies that come to SCSAM on a regular basis. “We break even,” says Heuer. “The university doesn’t need to subsidize us.” Seven full time engineers maintain the equipment and train users.

Source: Arthur Heuer
Writer: Karin Connelly

ohio supercomputer center's new system souped up and ready to go

There's a reason why Ohio Supercomputer Center's new $4.1 million,  HP Intel Xeon, processor based system has been dubbed the Oakley Cluster. Like the legendary Ohio-born sharpshooter and social advocate Annie Oakley, it's fast as hell, doesn't miss a shot and is improving the lives of Ohioans.

Just ask Ashok Krishnamurthy, Executive Director of the OSC, a facility that is funded by the Ohio Board of Regents and has been in existence since 1987. "We have more than 2,000 academic users across the state, and they're discovering new materials and developing advanced energy applications," he says. "To be competitive, we must provide the highest performance system, and this represents a new level of capability."

OSC's new supercomputer can achieve 88 teraflops, which is tech speak for 88 trillion calculations per second. Yes, in case you're wondering, that's lightning fast.

OSC's new system will help to achieve its mission of assisting academic and business users. Large companies such as Proctor and Gamble and Rolls Royce use OSC as a "second level system when they have needs beyond what their systems can support," says Krishnamurthy. OSC helps small and midsize companies develop and test prototypes virtually rather than investing in actual models, while academics use the system to complete their cutting-edge research.

"We give them access to software and expertise," says Krishnamurthy. "Once they understand the value of what this can do, it changes how they do business."

As one example, Krishnamurthy cites an Ohio company that is developing an LED projector small enough to fit inside a phone. How do they convince various manufacturers that their device can handle the projector's heat without testing every single one? That's where OSC's computer modeling comes in.

"You can simulate how the heat is dissipated," he says. "It's an easy, low-cost way to show potential customers how your design can be incorporated into their products."

OSC has also helped to develop courses for students at community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, as well as professionals who are seeking continuing education. "OSC is in a fairly unique position," says Krishnamurthy. "It is the most consistently state-funded center of its kind in the country."

Source: Ashok Krishnamurthy
Writer: Lee Chilcote

SBIR contract sets Endurica's sights on battle tank treads

When Dr. William Mars started his company, battle tank treads were the last thing on his mind. These days, they're at the forefront of his thinking.

For the next two years, Endurica LLC -- the company Mars started in 2008 to help companies predict the fatigue life of their materials -- will be focusing on the tank parts after landing a $730,000 Small Business Innovation Research award to help the U.S. Army examine the rubber components involved. The company, based in Findlay, has developed a patented system that can predict weaknesses in rubber products, their expected life spans and how to avoid failures in rubber parts.

The system, which Mars developed, allows clients like the Army to accurately predict these attributes without having to go through the repetitive process of having a prototype made and tested. It involves several numerical formulae that Mars says took 10 years to develop.

Now, clients can use a computer program to predict the performance of rubber and synthetics, and shave time and cost from their research and development budgets.

"Those processes tend to be extremely costly, producing a prototype and testing it over and over," says Mars. "We allow them to model their product in a huge range of operating conditions, and streamline that process."

For the Army, that could mean eliminating steps along the way that could run into the millions.

Endurica will be examining the track system on the Abrams tank via a two-year, $730,000 grant. Eliminating traditional testing steps could save the military millions, Mars explains.

"For something that big, testing means producing the prototype, putting it on a tank and running the tank for about 2,000 miles. Then, doing it again once you've made an adjustment. That's $2 million every time they test a new version," Mars adds.

While the Army contract allowed Mars to take Endurica from a "nights and weekends" operation to a full-time gig, Mars also expects it to be a springboard for his company. He's already adding full-time staff, and expects to expand further in the coming years with potentially vast client pool ranging from the automotive and aeronautical industries to biomedical companies.

"The Army contract is a validation of our technology, and the value it offers. It's brought us a lot of attention," adds Mars.

Source: William Mars, Endurica
Writer: Dave Malaska

Ground-up film technology gives Entrotech ground-up solutions for variety of industries

Advanced materials manufacturer entrotech has built a strong and thriving business doing something few others do, says President and CEO Jim McGuire: creating advanced materials solutions from concept to marketplace.

The company develops film-based materials used to create and improve products in the electronics, biomedical, transportation and aerospace industries. Unlike many larger advanced materials companies, entrotech takes these solutions from the research and development stage to marketing and manufacturing. The company's chemistry-based approached allows it to innovate and meet real needs in the industry in a cost-effective way, McGuire says.

McGuire, an Ohio State University grad with a background in chemistry, founded entrotech to fill a need in the advanced materials market.

"I felt there was need for a chemistry-based advance materials company. Very few people create their own solutions from the ground up," McGuire says.

The company develops, manufactures and sells its own branded products and sometimes works with other companies to get products to market.

Among companies that have used entrotech's materials are Avery Dennison, Medline, Hewlett Packard, Western Digital, Dell, Microsoft, Gillette, Jaguar, Daimler Benz and Honda.

The Columbus-based company employees 90 people – and recently hired three employees -- with offices in Ohio, Southern California, San Francisco and Singapore, Malaysia. About 40 percent of those employees work in Ohio, he says.

The company got its start at OSU's Business Technology Center before moving to nearby office space in Columbus. It was founded through a mix of angel investment and self-funding, but has received some state support. Last year the company received $2 million from Ohio Research and Development Investment Loan Fund to purchase equipment that allows it to expand its research and development capabilities.

Source: Jim McGuire, entrotech
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

Federal grants for energy, flexible electronics, could lead to more than 600 jobs in northeast Ohio

An economic development collaboration in northeast Ohio hopes that more than $2 million in federal grants will help it create more than 600 jobs in northeast Ohio during the next four years.

NorTech, along with Lorain County Community College, JumpStart and MAGNET will work together as one of 20 high growth industry clusters selected by the Obama administration’s Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

The Ohio collaboration is intended to accelerate the speed to market for near-production or pilot-production prototypes in the advanced energy and flexible electronics industries. Flexible electronics includes functional films and inks, liquid crystal devices and displays, printed batteries and sensors, OLED lighting and organic photovoltaics.

Rebecca Bagley, President and CEO of NorTech – a regional nonprofit technology-based economic development organization that serves 21 counties in northeast Ohio – says the project will benefit not only her region, but the nation.

“Our national economy is made up of the interconnection of regions across the country,” she says. “This really helps accelerate some important industry areas in northeast Ohio, which then ultimately accelerates growth of the nation.”

The number of northeast Ohio companies in the cluster are growing, with 46 organizations counted within advanced energy and 28 in flexible electronics, says Karen Allport, NorTech’s VP of strategic outreach.

“This represents members of the cluster – that is, companies with which NorTech has a close relationship and are actively engaged in building the clusters in Northeast Ohio. There are many more organizations in these industries but we do not define them as members of the cluster, yet. Our job is to attract them to become a member of the cluster.”

The Ohio partnership, which was selected from among 125 applicants nationally, expects to add 630 jobs, more than $40 million in annual payroll and $38 million in capital attracted during the next four years, Allport says.

Funding to support the Ohio initiative comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the Small Business Administration.

Sources: Rebecca Bagley and Karen Allport, NorTech
Writer: Gene Monteith

NoBull Innovations is catalyst for customers creating new products

New technologies are worthless if people and businesses can't easily use them. Sometimes it takes an outsider's view to take an innovation from a theory to its best practical use.

NoBull Innovation has been helping entrepreneurs and companies in Ohio and beyond develop new science and technology-based products, services and processes for more than three years. The owners have at times invested in some of these new technologies and helped launch startups in the process.

The Dayton firm works as an innovation catalyst creating new products through physical science, biology, electronics, and engineering. It works with clients who are early in the innovation process or who are trying to solve specific problems through technology.

NoBull was founded by former veteran Miami University chemistry professor Gilbert Pacey, former Procter & Gamble product developer and scientist Wolfgang Spendel and Todd Dockum, director of the Miami Heritage Technology Park. The company has two employees and is applying for federal grants that could allow them to hire two-to-three more in the next 12 months.

"People come to us who have a technology-based idea but need some help. We provide experience in developing technologies and help them get their idea to the next level. We also have people who have a good technology but are naive on the business end, and we can help them as well," Pacey says.

The company often helps clients discover multiple and new uses for their ideas beyond their preconceived notions.
"Sometimes people get tunnel vision and Wolf is really good at helping them see beyond that," Pacey adds.

Among the companies NoBull has worked with are Algaeventure Systems, Inc., a clean energy tech company in Marysville, and Applied Nanoinfusion and VCG Chromatography, both in Dayton. NoBull is partial owner of VCG.

NoBull is located in a facility of The Institute for Development and Commercialization of Advanced Sensor Technology, (or IDCAST).  IDCAST, is a research and development accelerator established through a $28 million Ohio Third Frontier grant.

Source: Gilbert Pacey, NoBull Innovation
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

pH Matter foresees big market by thinking small

Catalysis -- the process by which one substance creates or affects a reaction in another -- is, experts say, present in 90 percent of all commercially produced chemical products. From catalytic converters to fuel cells, petroleum refining to margarine, catalysts are used to produce desired reactions as part of the manufacturing process.

A Columbus-based startup in the TechColumbus incubator sees a future in the development of application-specific catalysts, but they're thinking very, very small.

pH Matter, LLC, has already received grants for research on projects for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). For NASA: a catalyst for the continuous formation of carbon in a carbon dioxide and hydrogen-fed system to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin of manned space craft. For NSF: a contaminant-resistant catalyst for use in production of fuel from biomass.

Ultimately, however, the company wants to be a manufacturer of nano materials, carbon "doped" fibers for use in metal-air batteries, fuel cells and industrial electrolysis.

"Our core technology is fabrication of doped nanofibers for energy storage," says Paul Matter, Ph.D., president and founder. "This is something I worked on in grad school. I saw that a lot of other applications were arising, so I thought this would be a good basis for a company.

"The doping means we're taking carbon and replacing an atom with boron or nitrogen and when you do that it changes the electronic properties of the carbon. By controlling the carbon at the nano scale you can get vastly different properties."

Currently. Matter and his busines partner, Christopher Holt, vice president and director of engineering, are producing the fibers only at lab scale -- a couple of grams at a time for properties testing. In 2012, however, the company plans to build a pilot scale manufacturing system at TechColumbus. And from there?

"Right now," Matter says, "Based on initial testing and customer feedback, we see potential opportunities for our materials in energy storage applications, fuel cells, capacitors. And we have had some early conversations with battery and fuel cell manufacturers."

Source: Paul Matter, pH Matter
Writer: Dana Griffith

Syscom helps aerospace industry shed unwanted pounds

In the aerospace industry, weight is a big deal. An industry rule of thumb is that for every pound you can take out of a big bird like the Boeing 737, you save $1 million over the life of a plane.

Syscom Advanced Materials is helping to save weight on the 200 miles or so of wiring in a typical plane by providing electrically conducive polymer/metal hybrid fibers that are significantly lighter than the typically-used nickel-copper wires.

The Columbus company was founded in December 2005. Its products are based on needs that founder Jar-Wha Lee recognized while working at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton and were developed under a federal Small Business Innovation Research grant, says Jeff Martin, Syscom's business development manager.

"He was doing some research there around making lightweight wires and he saw an opportunity for a business that people in the Air Force and aerospace industry were looking for," Martin explains.

The company's first product was Amberstrand Fiber, which is widely distributed to the industry in products crafted by Glenair, a California-based maker of electrical connector accessories.

"It's been on the market commercially for three years now. It's used heavily in the aerospace industry for EMI shielding (electromagnetic interference -- think of the buzz you get in your cell phone if it's too close to a radio)," Martin says.

The company recently introduced its new Liberator fiber. That product, which uses a different polymer than does Amberstrand, is still being evaluated with customers to determine its range of applications, Martin says.

"If you're comparing us to a nickel-coated copper wire, we're about 87 percent lighter and up to 26 times stronger than the copper wire. From a flexibility standpoint it's orders of magnitude greater."

The company's administrative offices and product development labs are housed at TechColumbus, with its manufacturing facility nearby. Martin reports that the company is growing, adding 12 new jobs in the past three years. The company now employs 15, he says, and expects to grow further through the year.

Source: Jeff Martin, Syscom Advanced Materials
Writer: Gene Monteith
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