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INVESTING IN PENNSYLVANIA’S FUTURE

Harrison Machine: Enabling Foundries to Cut Emissions and Energy Use

The management team at Harrison Machine Co. (HMC) has discovered that half is better than all. HMC designs and manufactures machines used by foundries to build cores and molds that, in turn, are used to make castings. The company has developed a new green concept for core and mold-making machines that uses half the energy and creates half the emissions to produce the same amount of product.

Harrison Machine

Harrison Machine Co. has developed a new green concept for core and mold-making machines that uses half the energy and creates half the emissions to produce the same amount of product.

“We’ve made it possible for foundries that use our core-making process to replace existing old technology with Harrison technology at an average ratio of four-to-one,” says Pat Farver, president of HMC. The company’s new machines replace the less-efficient manual mold-making process still used in many foundries.

With more than 3,000 existing foundries across the country facing the need to modernize and remain competitive, HMC’s new concept couldn’t come at a better time. Many foundries that make bronze and brass plumbing and valve casting still use the old shell core process and the introduction of HMC’s sand pre-heater system will help these foundries simplify their processes and lower their costs. The bottom line: The hot-process cure time can be reduced by as much as 50 percent by pre-heating the resin coated sand.

A New Branch on the BFTP Family Tree

“After I took ownership of the company,” says Farver, “I wanted to develop some of our new technology into marketable products. The people at the Small Business Development Center outlined several routes we could take to finance these developments and bring them to market sooner rather than later.”

After exploring his options, Farver decided to make a proposal for a Ben Franklin Seed Grant to bring the company’s most promising idea into the proof-of-concept stage. BFTP accepted Farver’s proposal and so far their investment in HMC has totaled nearly $100,000.

Farver says that BFTP is an especially important resource in the current economy, helping startup companies to fast-track their products so that great ideas and products don’t die.

BFTP also provided valuable opportunities for business relationships. “Through [BFTP's] Dr. Jim Kosco, we have been exposed to several R&D programs at Penn State University on the State College and Erie campuses, two of which are compatible with our technology and are therefore significantly advancing and accelerating our current development programs,” Farver says. “The Erie R&D program’s spin-off company, Visual Composites, will probably become a major supplier of a critical component of our new technology.”

Visual Composites was created by Tom Briselden, CEO of Spinworks, a BFTP-sponsored company that makes a radiant heat transfer system that helps industries save fuel costs without sacrificing productivity, with no negative emissions.

The Value of Networking

The State College R&D program also provides a networking opportunity for HMC. “It’s a unique chance to collaborate with the university to bring a new technology to market that will significantly reduce foundry emissions in the near future using Harrison core machines as a platform,” Farver says.

With the help of BFTP, HMC sees significant growth in the near future. HMC currently employs six people, “and we intend to hire two or three more once we see the sales impact of the new technology we’re developing,” Farver says.

Overall, Farver says BFTP is crucial in helping early-stage companies bring their valuable inventions to market. “Early-stage companies seem to originate more innovations, new products and even new industries,” Farver says. “BFTP helps companies like Harrison to quickly develop new technologies so they can grow their market share, sales and profits while still maintaining normal operating capital.”

Farver says that BFTP is an especially important resource in the current economy, helping startup companies to fast-track their products so that great ideas and products don’t die.

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This article was featured in
Keynotes May, 2009
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