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Spin-off StratisIS EMS opens another market for Philly's BuLogics

Philadelphia's rapidly morphing BuLogics has spun off another company -- only a year in, the new enterprise is already profitable, with a growing list of clients and strategic partners.

BuLogics certifies, designs and builds wireless systems for the Internet of Things, the rapidly growing arena in which everyday objects are connected (think thermostats, locks, lights). In 2011, BuLogics spun off its consumer products division to a new firm, Zonoff

In October 2013, BuLogics subdivided again, spinning off StratIS EMS "in an effort to give focused attention to a scalable growth model inherently difficult to create when providing hourly engineering and certification services in what remains a niche (though potentially explosive) market," explains CEO Felicite Moorman. "StratIS is software as a service, with limited hardware, maximizing margins and reducing our overhead."

Like Zonoff, StratIS is focused on the "extremely neglected" multi-family energy efficiency market.

"StratIS has yet to pursue funding but has already attracted interest from some of the most influential housing authorities in the United States and some of the largest manufacturers in the world," says Moorman. "It's a game changer within the multifamily industry, and we wanted to make sure we could take advantage of funding opportunities, independent of BuLogics, should our growth require it."

StratIS recently released a new product, an iOS Estimator App that gives facilities managers and owners a simple way to explore and execute rapid return-on-investment energy management and control systems. 

"Multifamily is low hanging fruit for us and it is absolutely just the beginning," insists Moorman. "As a bootstrapped technology company, profitability and managed growth are of primary importance. While remaining true to our core offering, we've just expanded to access management [wireless door locks], demonstrated a security offering for a proven international serial entrepreneur, and we're working with a local health alliance to expand into the aging in place and health management for senior living centers -- all based on software requiring relatively minor iterations."

BuLogics and StratIS are co-located in Philadelphia; the two companies are actively hiring and expanding. 

Source: Felicite Moorman, StratIS EMS
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Major solar system will power Urban Outfitters' new center

Urban Outfitters' huge new direct-to-consumer fulfillment center is under construction in Salisbury Township. When complete next summer, its vast roof will support the largest roof-mounted solar energy system in Pennsylvania and the seventh largest energy system in the state.

Solar will provide up to half of the company's energy needs at the site.

URBN, as the corporate entity of the Philadelphia-based retail giant is known, is eagerly anticipating the 970,000-square-foot, $110 million center. The project is on schedule and on budget, according to several press reports. When fully operational next year, it will employ 500, even more at peak times. 

URBN purchased the 52-acre tract last year in a newly created Keystone Opportunity Zone. The site is adjacent to the company's much smaller distribution center that opened it 1996; that facility employs 117. This summer, the state announced that it had awarded a $3 million Economic Growth Initiative grant to the company for the solar array. 

URBN is also on the grow at its headquarters at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, where it already occupies over 400,000 square feet.

Source: Office of the Governor
Writer: Elise Vider

Chambersburg's Kur Technologies is developing sustainable generators

In 2011, when Keystone Edge last visited Chambersburg's Kur Technologies, its founder Kurt Hinds had completed a prototype for a small, battery-powered generator.

Now Hinds has built a larger version of his Kem-Generator -- large enough to work as an alternative to some fossil fuel generators and a device with the potential for use in water purification, and medical and health applications around the globe.

"By providing electricity in remote locations, the Kem-Generator can be used to combat the spread of diseases by powering refrigerators, air purifiers and mobile sterilization devices," explains Hinds. "Mobile or permanently installed water purification systems powered by Kem-Generators can also combat the spread of diseases by providing clean water for drinking, hygiene and sanitation."

Kur's generator is powered by maintenance-free, deep-cycle, rechargeable batteries that can be charged via photovoltaic cells, making the system fully self-contained. Unlike generators powered by internal combustion engines, it's safe (and quiet) for indoor use. 

Hinds tested the new prototype last year at a Harrisburg community garden using a small, off-grid photovoltaic battery charging system. The generator powered his electric tiller and irrigation system, and provided non-invasive pest control. 

Expanding on the Kem-Generator’s ability to power submersible pumps, Hinds has now devised a mobile water purification system that he believes could be further developed to serve the energy industry and to purify water for refuge camps and similar situations around the world.

Source: Kurt Hinds, Kur Technologies
Writer: Elise Vider

Latest BFTP/SEP investments support healthy eating, healthy heads and healthy bottom lines

Eleven early-stage companies, ranging from a maker of healthy chips to a social media innovator to a company that makes high-tech protective helmets, have been approved for $1.9 million in funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

AboutOne in Chester County is a secure and private online subscription service for the management of family life, providing a location for users to conveniently enter, store, manage and share family memories (text, photos and videos) and household information (health records, possession and education records, contacts and more). The data is accessible anywhere, through any device.
 
Ajungo Holdings in Chester County enables companies to engage in social lead capture by leveraging robust granular data from social media. 
 
Bucks County’s Brad’s Raw Chips uses an advanced dehydration technology to produce a line of healthy, crunchy snacks made from raw foods such as fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds.  
 
Philadelphia’s CloudMine offers a technology platform that reduces the total cost and effort of building, deploying, and maintaining mobile applications and websites by over 60 percent. 

Cloudnexa in Philadelphia is a next-gen cloud management solutions leader for business and government, allowing clients to move and manage their applications in the cloud with streamlined managed services capabilities.

CRO Analytics in Bucks County offers a unique platform for the life science industry, providing efficient access to reliable benchmarking, key driver analysis and predictive analytics. This unique system gives clinical trial sponsor organizations and service providers the power to adapt their management mid-trial, assess and address functional area performance, enhance alliance management and improve research oversight, making clinical research better, faster and less expensive.

Defend Your Head in Chester County has developed a patented soft-shell, protective helmet to significantly increase the protective abilities of existing sports helmets and reduce head injuries on the field. Market launch is scheduled for late summer.
 
Dynamic Energy Solutions in Chester County provides comprehensive energy solutions including solar power, combined heat and power, and energy efficiency audits to help businesses and institutions maximize the return on their energy investments both environmentally and financially. 
 
Bucks County's Grassroots Unwired offers a software platform built specifically to support the "offline" efforts of non-profit organizations, boosting contributions and membership.
 
SETVI in Delaware County offers a mobile sales enablement platform.

Vy Corporation in Chester County is a software company specializing in shape detection services for the medical imaging market. 

Source: BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

JOBS 1st Summit focuses on building a 21st century workforce

Leaders and innovators from Pennsylvania's business, education and public sectors will convene to tackle the challenges and complexities of developing a 21st century workforce at the state's first JOBS 1st Summit, set for August 25 through 26 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. 

Among the highlights will be "The Game Changer: Energy = Jobs for Pennsylvania" (1 p.m. August 25), a conversation between Governor Tom Corbett and T. Boone Pickens, who built one of the nation’s largest independent oil companies. The pair will discuss the state’s energy policy and how it is preparing its citizens for energy jobs now and in the future.

"Make it in PA" will be a panel discussion focused on bringing manufacturing jobs home through innovation, targeted reshoring and talent development. Other conference topics include developing talent, enhancing employer involvement, using technology to foster the intersection between work and learning, and building targeted talent pipelines for older workers, people with disabilities, veterans and former prisoners. 

"Having a workforce ready to tackle the jobs of the 21st century is critical to the overall health of our economy," says Gov. Corbett. "The JOBS 1st Summit will build on our efforts to align education, training and technology with employer needs."

Source: PA Department of Labor & Industry
Writer: Elise Vider

BFTP/SEP closes the fiscal year with $6.6 million invested in 37 companies

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania closed their books for the fiscal year 2014 with some big numbers.
 
BFTP/SEP announced it had approved $6.6 million in investments in 37 companies across the region.
 
Eight deals totaling $2.4 million were in the physical sciences (four in energy infrastructure, one in engineered electronics, one in energy water infrastructure, one in consumer products and one in sustainable technology).
 
Seventeen deals totaling $2.3 million broke down to seven in software-as-a-service, three in web services, three in infrastructure-as-a-service, two mobile, one gaming and one regional initiative.
 
Life sciences accounted for $1.9 million over 12 deals: four digital health and diagnostics, three diagnostics, three medical devices or biomaterials, one consumer medical products, and one medical imaging and dental tech.
 
Geographically, the deals broke down like this: Philadelphia County, 16; Chester County, seven; Montgomery County, six; Bucks and Delaware counties, four each.
 
Sixty-eight percent of the companies are new to BFTP/SEP; the remaining 32 percent received  follow-on investments.
 
Source: BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Wayne's Independence LED Lighting declares $10 million giveaway for Energy Independence Month

Wayne's Independence LED Lighting is celebrating its namesake holiday all month with a $10 million giveaway program to small businesses.

The maker of LED tubes and LED fixtures will cover up to $10,000 per business for the first 1,000 that register this month. Services include a cash-for-clunkers buy back on fluorescent tubes (when replaced with LED lighting), a lighting savings analysis, manufacturer-direct pricing, zero-cost financing and free installation.

Independence moved its manufacturing from China to Pennsylvania in 2010 in order to increase quality assurance, reduce transportation costs and improve delivery time to its customer base, concentrated between Washington, D.C. and New York City, says CEO Charlie Szoradi.

Since then, he adds, the company has increased its line from about 12 products to over 1,200, and has sold LED lighting to Fortune 100 companies such as Morgan Stanley and Metlife; its wares have also been used to outfit over 25 Navy ships.

Independence cites data showing that with over 2.3 billion fluorescent tubes in American ceilings, the advantages of making the switch are extraordinary. Over the 20-year life of LEDs, the savings would be $331.2 billion and 3.7 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide. Replacing other bulbs could double that savings.
 
The company employs about 50 people across management, sales and production, and Szoradi anticipates significant hiring as Independence explores expanding production with sister manufacturing in California, Canada and Mexico.
 
Source: Charlie Szoradi, Independence LED Lighting
Writer: Elise Vider

BFTP/NEP announces latest funding round

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania's (BFTP/NEP) has pledged $620,000 in support of regional economic development. The funds will go towards developing and growing early-stage tech companies, helping manufacturers apply new technology and achieve industry leadership, and fostering a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Ben Franklin has also announced the following investments, provided to companies in the form of loans.

CEWA Technologies, Wyomissing
Ben Franklin Investment: $350,000
This company hopes to complete design, construction and prototype testing of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish. Their product should deliver power for industrial and institutional applications at a lower cost due to its innovative shape and build.

Good Vittles, Hamburg
Ben Franklin Investment: $56,000
This company aims to complete the development and implementation of its exclusive technology to support its e-commerce marketplace for specialty foods. Good Vittles' two e-commerce portals serve as direct distribution channels, connecting food suppliers with professional chefs and individual consumers. Suppliers will use the company's proprietary packing process to maintain freshness while employing cost-effective shipping methods.

U.S. Specialty Formulations, LLC, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
U.S. Specialty Formulations will complete the set-up, staffing and cGMP-approval process to produce sterile injectable pharmaceuticals for the medical community. Millions of Americans require specialized and custom-compounded drugs, and the current infrastructure is insufficient. As an FDA-registered outsourced manufacturer, USF will employ advanced quality and manufacturing controls to comply with new, more stringent federal quality standards.

Ben Franklin is also investing in the following established manufacturers, providing 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner.

Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Bethlehem
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

This Lehigh Valley manufacturer of motion-control equipment aims to develop and implement a process to automate data collection, driving process improvements and enabling predictive maintenance for machining centers throughout the company.

Fidelity Technologies Corporation, Reading
College Partner: Northampton Community College's Emerging Technology Applications Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

Fidelity will develop superior tactical electric power generator technology, primarily for the U.S. Department of Defense. These new generators meet a need for compact, reliable, fuel-efficient and fuel-flexible generators in the field.

Hydro Recovery LP, Blossburg
University Partner: The Pennsylvania State University
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

The company will further develop and optimize the economic extraction of useful materials from residual "frac" water used in natural gas wells. Hydro Recovery's process converts the used water into a Hydraulic Stimulation Fluid (HSF™) that can then be reused. This process eliminates the need to transport wastewater over long distances, will save millions of gallons of freshwater each year, and eliminate discharge of treated water into waterways.

Palram Americas Group, Kutztown
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $12,500

This manufacturer of polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride plastic sheets will complete the development of standard operating procedures to maximize efficiency. These standards will enhance safety and reduce both direct and indirect costs, leading to improved competitiveness and customer satisfaction. 

PMF Industries, Inc., Williamsport
University Partner: Pennsylvania College of Technology
Ben Franklin Investment: $23,000

The company aims to optimize the electrical consumption of its largest motors -- energy consumption represents a significant cost of manufacturing. PMF provides contract manufacturing services with an emphasis on flow forming -- producing metal parts that are cylindrical, conical, or contoured with precise control of wall thicknesses. Customers include the aerospace and energy sectors, as well as users of precision pressure vessels. 

Suburban Testing Laboratories, Inc., Reading
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $3,500

This Reading company will define current and future facility requirements for the installation of a new, centralized walk-in incubator room. Suburban provides environmental, product and water testing and analyses for both industry and municipalities. 
 

BFTP/SEP issues request for proposals to commercialize alternative and clean energy technologies

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) is inviting companies developing solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power, advanced uses for natural gas resources, novel energy storage technologies and technologies related to energy conservation or transportation to apply to its Alternative Energy Development Program (AEDP). 

AEDP offers loans between $50,000 to $750,000. The program is intended to accelerate the development and commercialization of promising clean and alternative energy technologies. BFTP/SEP says it will consider proposals for technologies that have demonstrated impact for energy generation, conservation and/or distribution.

To be eligible, companies must have fewer than 250 employees and be located in -- or willing to relocate to -- Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia counties. Technologies employed in the proposals can range from early-stage to commercialization ready. 

Under the terms of BFTP/SEP’s request for proposals, a five-to-one cash match is required for $50,000 loans; loans greater than $50,000 require a one-to-one company match.
 
An email notice of intent to apply is due by 5 p.m. on June 23; completed proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. on July 7.

Source: BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Shale innovators win funding and exposure in third annual Innovation Contest

Four companies will share a $100,000 purse to develop their innovative, shale-related product or service as winners of the 3rd Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest, sponsored by the Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC),  a Ben Franklin Technology Partners-supported center. 

One winner, KCF Technologies, Inc. of State College, has developed a low-cost, low-power sensor used for wireless monitoring of rotating equipment, also known as condition-based maintenance. Current customers include the pulp and paper industry and the building maintenance sector. As reported last year in Keystone Edge, KCF is diversifying into the oil and gas industry, and with the support of an SGICC seed grant, is conducting a demonstration project to prove the value of its technology to this new market segment.

OPTIMUM Pumping Technology in Morgan was named a winner for its high-performance manifolds -- they reciprocate natural gas compressors, eliminating pulsation control bottles and their vibration-related failures, significantly improving compressor reliability and operating efficiency. TM Industrial Supply of Erie won thanks to its technology that filters contaminants from the natural extraction process.

A fourth company, NG Innovations, Inc. of West Virginia, was also named a winner. 

Opportunity abounds, but bringing shale-related products and services to market can be daunting, says SGICC Director Bill Hall.

"Until you’ve been in the trenches, so to speak, it’s hard to explain how challenging it is to advance an idea all the way to commercial success," he explains. "SGICC’s job is to sort through the dozens and dozens of promising ideas, and identify the ones that we can impact by shining a light on them using a small amount of seed funding, and then helping them vet their concept with potential end users.”

The contest brings value, he adds, not only for the dollars but also for the wide industry exposure. He cites REV LNG of Ulysses, one of last year's winners and a supplier of "on demand" liquid natural gas. CEO David Kailbourne says the win was instrumental in propelling recent company growth.

"Our process is making a difference for the next generation of shale energy innovators," says Hall. "Our partnership with many of the leading shale energy companies helps expose these ideas to the right audience, and fast track the best ones to a successful commercial launch."

Source: Bill Hall, SGICC
Writer: Elise Vider

PA businesses -- large and small, east and west -- to be honored with ImPAct Awards

An array of Pennsylvania companies -- everything from ABEC Inc. in Bethlehem to Zook Motors in Kane -- are finalists in the 2014 Governor’s ImPAct Awards

For the second year, the awards are aimed at celebrating "companies and individuals who are investing in Pennsylvania and creating jobs." The awards will be given at a May 30 luncheon at Hershey Lodge.

The finalists paint a picture of the Pennsylvania economy -- they range from small businesses to vast enterprises, startups to long-established companies, represent geographic diversity and come from a wide array of sectors. Where else would you find Webster’s Bookstore and Café in State College nominated in the same category as financial services giant Vanguard in Valley Forge?

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) led the process for nominations and selecting finalists. Two panels of judges from different parts of the state chose the 50 winners. Any size company is eligible, as long as they have significant operations in Pennsylvania and have been in business for at least one year. 

The awards will be given in five categories: Community Impact to a company that exemplifies the tenet of "doing well by doing good"; Entrepreneur Impact to recognize leadership via creativity, innovation, managerial ability, leadership skills or turnaround; Export Impact to a company that has significantly increased its export sales and number of new foreign markets since 2011; Jobs First, to recognize consistent job growth and retention; and Small Business Impact to a growing firm of 100 or fewer employees. 

Source: DCED and Laura Eppler, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA
Writer: Elise Vider
 

CMU architects develop a dashboard to reduce office energy use

Office workers don’t get a utility bill for the energy they use at work, points out Ray Yun, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture. For his dissertation, he decided to create an effective way for desk jockeys to save energy. The result is the Intelligent Dashboard, a web-based application that shows users' real-time energy usage and allows to them to manage their consumption using manual and automated controls.  

"What I am most proud of is helping people to see energy saving opportunities," says Yun. "Office workers have no big incentive to put any effort into conserving energy at work since they don’t pay the bills. Without providing rewards or penalties or forcing workers to use our dashboard, we have successfully assisted them in voluntarily acting on behalf of the environment."

The dashboard evaluates "plug load energy use" -- plug load refers to how many things are actually plugged into outlets at an individual desk. They all pull from the grid. 

Eighty employees at a major Pittsburgh corporation field-tested the dashboard, using plug-in devices manufactured by Plugwise that measure the energy consumption of each device and provide digital on-off control. 

After six weeks, the group with a full suite of energy monitors, online controls and the ability to place their work schedule on a calendar to control unnecessary plug loads, averaged 35.4 percent savings in their plug load energy consumption.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Consortium for Building Energy Innovation and Yun believes it has commercial potential. The research team, which also includes Azizan Aziz, Vivian Loftness, Bertrand Lasternas, Peter Scupelli, Chenlu Zhang, Yunjeong Mo and Jie Zhao, is looking to expand the technology to other sectors in building energy management such as lighting, HVAC and building temperature. 

Source: Ray Yun, Carnegie Mellon University
Writer: Elise Vider

 

Latest Pittsburgh scorecard tallies 302 deals worth of investment and job growth

Between new facilities, company expansions, attraction and retention of companies and startups, there were 302 economic development deals in the Pittsburgh region in 2013; that's a 12 percent increase. 
 
In its annual scorecard, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) reported that regional economic development deals totaled $2.4 billion in capital investment. PRA projected that 2013 activity will retain 1,669 jobs and create 6,983 new ones as announced deals come to fruition.
 
Financial and business services continued to be the backbone of the regional economy, but the big news was the growth in the region’s information and communications sector, which assumed second place for number of deals, growing from 33 in 2012 to 51 in 2013, its biggest spike since 2008. 
 
Jim Futrell, PRA’s vice president of market research, predicts continued growth in the IT sector. "Considering the presence of Carnegie Mellon and the 2,000 IT graduates coming from the region’s colleges and universities each year, the region is well positioned to become a major technology hub in the foreseeable future," he says.
 
The region also remains true to its industrial roots, with advanced manufacturing the most active sector for deals in 2013.

"The Pittsburgh region still makes things: specialty metals, medical devices, robots and turbines, to name a few," says PRA President Dewitt Peart. "We’re a manufacturer to the world, capitalizing on technology to make processes precise, sophisticated and efficient."
 
"While employment growth seems to have plateaued, the outlook for the region is still sound," adds Futrell. "We should continue to experience growth in critical sectors like financial and business services, and energy.  And manufacturing -- which has fueled our economy for some 200 years -- has been a very active sector in terms of business investment deals and activity.  
 
"What is critical for the region’s future is making sure that individuals entering the workforce have the skills needed to fill the 20,000-plus jobs open in the region right now," he continues. "More than half of these currently open jobs require tech skills, and that requisite won’t be changing any time soon. Tech is driving a 'new workforce order' in the Pittsburgh region. The demand for tech-savvy employees -- across all industries -- is only going to increase."
 
Source: Jim Futrell, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
Writer: Elise Vider 
 
 
 

Thanks to state fund, five Drexel buildings get energy retrofits

Campus science buildings are the modern version of the shoemaker's children without any shoes.

"Due to their ventilation requirements, science buildings are the largest energy users on campuses and consume dramatically more energy than other buildings on a per square foot basis,” explains Joyce Ferris of Philadelphia’s Blue Hill Partners. But, she added, they are often overlooked for energy efficiency projects.
 
Now, five Drexel University buildings -- three science and two mixed-use structures, totaling more than 430,000 square feet of space -- are about to get $6.6 million in retrofits to significantly cut their energy use. Upon completion, Drexel's energy consumption will decrease by more than 25 percent at the Lebow Engineering Center, the Center for Automation Technology, the Bossone Research Center, Nesbitt Hall, and the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Center. The upgrades will cut energy consumption by about 19.4 billion BTUs a year, approximately the same amount of energy consumed by 142 U.S. families. Drexel will eventually recover the costs through savings on energy bills.
 
Blue Hill is manager of the state's Campus Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF), established by the Pennsylvania Treasury to help colleges and universities lower their operating expenses through innovative energy efficiency and sustainability projects. Blue Hill co-developed the project with Dallas-based SCIenergy. Other investors include Mitsui USA, The Reinvestment Fund and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
 
The project includes state-of-the-art, centralized, demand-based controls for three buildings, reducing the energy used to operate the buildings’ more than 62 lab spaces by more than 46 percent. A complete mechanical upgrade of the Paul Peck Research Center will cut the 100,000-square-foot building’s HVAC energy load by 35 percent, saving the university more than $200,000 each year on utility bills. The project also includes a major renovation project at the 78,000-square-foot Nesbitt Hall featuring variable volume air handling units, supply air distribution systems, new lighting and new controls.
 
Blue Hill expects to lead more than $45 million in investments in CEEF projects at multiple colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. When fully invested, the fund will save Pennsylvania schools more than $150 million in energy costs over 20 years.
 
Source: PA Treasury and Blue Hill Partners
Writer: Elise Vider
 

State College's KCF Technologies perfects wireless industrial monitoring

Just as your car's dashboard tells you when something is wrong under the hood, wireless monitoring from KCF Technologies in State College provides reliable information on machinery across a number of industries. KCF detects vibrations that can be an early sign of something amiss with pumps, motors, fans, compressors and similar equipment.
 
Jeremy Frank and Gary Koopmann founded KCF in 2000 as a spinoff of research done at Penn State. For most of its existence, the company has grown thanks to federal research and development contracts from the departments of energy and defense. Three years ago, KCF made a strategic pivot to focus on industrial and commercial sales of its technology. Market sectors include industrial HVAC and refrigeration, power generation, pulp and paper, and water. 
 
Most recently, KCF has turned its attention to a new and potentially huge market -- shale gas and oil drilling. As reported in Keystone Edge, the company won the first grant awarded by the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercial Center through the state's "Discovered in PA, Developed in PA" program. 
 
Frank says the $20,000 grant is going towards field demonstrations; the technology is already deployed at four shale gas sites, two of them used for training. As a young industry, the kind of "predictive maintenance" that KCF offers (as opposed to scheduled maintenance or, worse, emergency repairs) is not yet widely embraced, and drill sites offer their own special challenges, including terrain and weather. But KCF is convinced that shale opens a potential market of hundreds of millions for wireless monitoring. The company is currently doing R&D to further its presence in the market with wireless air quality monitoring at well sites. Another project in the pipeline involves a medical device to monitor the function of prosthetic limbs for military amputees.
 
KCF employs 35 and Frank expects to add five to 10 jobs this year as its shale business grows. The company, he adds, has doubled its workforce five times in the past eight years.
 
Source: Jeremy Frank, KCF Technologies
Writer: Elise Vider
 
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