As the government, public, and private sectors work to address the many serious problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic, several Greater Reading clients of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania are working directly and indirectly in the efforts.
Adhezion Biomedical manufactures SecurePortIV, an IV catheter securement adhesive that is being used to secure “long-line” catheters on COVID-19 patients who are receiving medication via intravenous (IV) infusion. The long-line catheters allow the healthcare professional to administer and manage the medication without additional direct exposure to the patient. SecurePort securely holds the catheter in place, sealing the IV port and preventing microbes from entering the site. In addition, Adhezion CEO Pete Molinaro is an advisor to the Science Research Institute (SRI), one of the key drivers of the Berks PPE Resource Network (see Network description below), and Adhezion has provided financial support to the Network. Adhezion Biomedical is a privately-held medical device company engaged in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of highly-differentiated, proprietary, cyanoacrylate-based adhesive.
Supplying key sectors in the fight against COVID-19 is vital. American Polarizers manufactures polarized and non-polarized optical products that are used for scientific and medical instrumentation. The company also produces for aerospace, electronics, photographic, and animated display industries, which contribute to important government security efforts. American Polarizers is currently donating industrial grade plastic for face shields that are being produced by the Berks PPE Resource Network (see Network description below).
Berks PPE Resource Network, Greater Reading
Several organizations and institutions have partnered to create the Berks PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Network, which is based at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts, Reading. The network combines the efforts of many organizations and individuals to create highly-sought-after face shields, part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that helps in the fight against COVID-19. The shields are being 3D printed at the Cross Trainer Mixed Reality studios inside the GoggleWorks as well as through the Penn State Berks LaunchBox. The effort is being led by the Science Research Institute at Albright College and the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance. The partnership also includes Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Cross Trainer Mixed Reality, the Hamburg Area School District, Kutztown University, and Reading Area Community College. Distribution of the shields has started in the community. Nursing homes and police departments are among the first recipients. The Berks Alliance and the Berks County Community Foundation are providing funding and donations.
Cougle’s Recycling, Inc., www.couglesrecycling.com, Hamburg
Ongoing recycling and waste removal during the pandemic is key for public and environmental health. Cougle’s Recycling’s team is continuing operations, supporting life-sustaining clients and manufacturers. The firm appreciates an increased recycling vigilance from customers and residents at this time to keep its team and the environment safe.
Heyco Metals is operating as an essential business because of its work supplying the medical device market. The company is a precision mill that produces copper and copper alloy coil and stainless steel strip to exacting specifications for use in a wide variety of critical components including ventilators and testing products.
Disinfectants are a crucial part of the fight against COVID-19. Reading-based Misco Products manufactures liquid cleaning and maintenance solutions for healthcare, institutional, food service, and industrial markets. In response to exploding current demand due to the pandemic, Misco has added multiple manufacturing lines and dramatically increased production volume for the critical disinfectants needed to fight this virus.
Public water utilities use daily water tests to help keep their treatment plants running properly. Water testing is an essential service during the pandemic. M.J. Reider is a private contract laboratory that provides analytic testing support to public water distribution systems. The firm is continuing essential testing services for nearly 14% of Pennsylvania’s population.
Sealstrip continues to provide its easy and flexible packaging solutions for the food manufacturing industry, which is an essential product during the pandemic. Sealstrip designs and manufactures easy-open and easy-reseal systems for flexible packaging, pressure-sensitive tapes, and related products.
Suburban Testing Laboratories, Inc., www.suburbantestinglabs.com, Reading
As an essential service, Suburban Testing Labs continues to operate to protect public health and preserve the environment. The company has laboratory analysts, field scientists, and technical staff who are fully operational. According to the Water Environment Federation, there is currently no evidence that the COVID-19 virus survives the disinfection process for drinking water and wastewater. At this time, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low. The company is working to help protect staff and the community by following social distancing practices, requiring face masks, staggering shifts, and having as many staff working remotely as possible. The company has also been using its 3D printer to produce face shields to donate to the Berks PPE Resource Network (see Network description above).
Personal protective face shields are vital for healthcare workers and others in the fight against COVID-19. Verde Mantis, manufacturer of the Mantis 3D Printer, is producing the face shields in volume, as well as sharing its production files and procedures with other companies to enable volunteers in the Berks PPE Resource Network (see Network description above). Verde Mantis is also working with engineers at Ben Franklin client Carpenter Technology and Cross Trainer Learning to develop a new face shield headband model that fits individuals with larger heads.
As an electronics manufacturer, WORLD is contacting its medical-related customers to determine how it can help support their operations and expediting any COVID-19 related products
About the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by investing in and linking companies with experts, universities, follow-on funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. It is part of a four-center economic development initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.
BFTP/NEP’s strategy encompasses three key areas:
- developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies;
- supporting established manufacturers as they creatively apply new technology to help them succeed globally by producing better, faster, and at a lower cost;
- promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that supports Pennsylvania’s business technology ecosystem.
Since beginning operations in 1983, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 19,257 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 43,880 existing jobs, to start 525 new companies, and to develop 2,113 new products and processes. Since 2007, BFTP/NEP clients have generated more than $1.6 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.90 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program.
BFTP/NEP owns, manages, and is headquartered in Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem. BFTP/NEP also owns and manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center. Applying more than 35 years of experience and two international awards for excellence in business incubation, BFTP/NEP leads a 13-member business incubator network that is among the largest in the nation.