Skip to content

The Emergent Field of Hydrogen Power

2012 May 21
by andreakbass

Being that PEI is at the forefront of fabricating parts and components for renewable and alternative energies, we thought we’d take a look at the rapidly emergent field of fuel cells. Fuel cells are a proven, effective means of generating power for a host of different applications – from providing heat and electricity to buildings to providing generative power for automobiles.

Old car engine with modern fuel cell hybrid.

Old car engine with modern fuel cell technology.

The technology is a viable game-changer in terms of global energy consumption, and major players have long-since gotten onboard. Witness Masdar, the pioneering U.A.E. company that has sought to construct an entire section of the city of Abu Dhabi that emits 0% carbon (in addition to the company’s pouring huge sums of investment capital into Chinese fuel cell and water treatment technology). Or watch how Hyundai, the South Korean automotive juggernaut, has recently pledged to roll out 1,000 hydrogen-powered cars this year alone, with plans for many more down the road. Even America’s own gas-guzzling Department of Defense has gotten in on the act, pledging to have 25% of its assets reliant on renewable energy (including hydrogen fuel cells) by the year 2025.

While fuel cells have traditionally been expensive to manufacture on account of their being reliant on platinum (a rare, expensive metal indeed), even this barrier is being swept aside by emergent technology that makes fuel cells more cost-effective than ever. Recent experiments at the University of Connecticut have demonstrated a means of producing fuel cells at an astronomically cheaper price than before, a new process that uses 10 times less platinum catalyst than previously, and that creates little or no wastage.

At PEI, we are in the business of fabricating photo-chemically etched fuel cell plates for the fuel cell industry. Whether stainless steel, titanium, or some other such non-corrosive metal is involved in the process, chances are almost certain that we have expertise in working with such materials.

The Global Phenomenon of Fuel Cell Technology

2012 April 30
by andreakbass

Being that PEI is at the forefront of fabricating parts and components for multiple alternative energies, we thought we’d take a look at the rapidly emergent field of fuel cells. Fuel cells are a proven, effective means of generating power for a host of different applications – from providing heat and electricity to buildings to providing generative power for automobiles.

The technology is a viable game-changer in terms of global energy consumption, and major players have long-since gotten onboard. Witness Masdar, the pioneering U.A.E. company that has sought to construct an entire section of the city of Abu Dhabi that emits 0% carbon (in addition to the company’s pouring huge sums of investment capital into Chinese fuel cell and water treatment technology). Or watch how Hyundai, the South Korean automotive juggernaut, has recently pledged to roll out 1,000 hydrogen-powered cars this year alone, with plans for many more down the road. Even America’s own gas-guzzling Department of Defense has gotten in on the act, pledging to have 25% of its assets reliant on renewable energy (including hydrogen fuel cells) by the year 2025.

While Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells have traditionally been expensive to manufacture on account of their being reliant on expensive catalysts like platinum (a rare, expensive metal indeed), even this barrier is being swept aside by emergent technologies like RSDT (reactive spray deposition technology) that makes fuel cells more cost-effective than ever by shooting the small catalyst particles out in the form of a gas flame which then instantly cools into carefully controlled atom-sized solids for adhesion to the fuel cell membrane.  Recent experiments at the University of Connecticut under Professor Radenka Maric have demonstrated this break through process as a means to produce fuel cells at significantly cheaper prices than before by using up to 10 times less platinum catalyst with little or no waste.

At PEI, we are in the business of fabricating photo-chemically etched fuel cell plates for the fuel cell industry. Whatever the non-corrosive metal that is involved in the process (e.g. stainless steel, titanium, etc.), the odds are that we can be of service.  PEI continues to play a vital role in the successful development of a whole new way of powering a cleaner world.

Titanium Etching for Internal Microchip Plants, and Other Medical Uses

2012 April 6
by andreakbass

Osteoporosis weakens boneTeriparatide (known more commonly by its market name, Forteo) is a drug used frequently to treat osteoporosis. In order for the drug to work effectively in a patient’s system, a stentorian regimen of daily injections is required: one small slip-up in the routine and a lot can be jeopardized.

To help patients maintain a more precise means of using teriparatide, scientists at M.I.T. and elsewhere have pioneered a titanium microchip that can actually be implanted into a patient’s internal system. Once implanted, the microchip then performs a timed release of the teriparatide, allowing for a clear, constant, and rigorous administration of the drug.

Apart from the complexities of its electronic components, one of the key elements to note about the microchip (dimensions of 1/50th of an inch thick, half of an inch long, and 1/5th of an inch wide) is the fact that it is fabricated largely out of titanium. This is no coincidence. Because of titanium’s propensity for extremely tight tolerances, as well as the metal’s impermeability when conjoined with other base materials, it is in constant demand by the OEM medical industry, where the slightest adjustment in a device’s precision and hardiness can mean the difference between wellness and illness.

Flat-wire catheters, aneurism devices, pacemakers, medical implants, reconstructive surgery, and now an automated internal medicine delivery device: time and again, the 81st element is sought after as an etching material for medical applications. At PEI, we have a whole division dedicated to the metal photo etching of titanium. An ISO 9001:2008 manufacturer, as well as one of the first companies in the world to embrace whole-heartedly the process of photochemical engineering, we’ve kept a spotless track record in terms of etching titanium for cutting-edge medical applications.

iMAPS – in Ronkonkoma April 5th

2012 March 29

iMAPSThe International Microelectronics and Packaging Society, or IMAPS for short, will be convening its Metro New York/Long Island chapter meeting at the Holiday Inn this April 5th in Ronkonkoma, NY. We at PEI are pleased to announce that we will be counted among the 75+ companies in attendance at this invaluable series of lectures, symposiums, and workshops on the microelectronic industry of today. The overall goal, beyond of course the possibility of reaching out to new business partners and reconnecting with old ones, will be a thorough investigation of microwave hybrid technology as it stands, and its reliable and successful transference into military, space, medical, and critical commercial applications such as counterfeit component detection and prevention.

Throughout the course of the day, topics covered will include a comprehensive overview of the RF manufacturing assembly process; a look at some of the frequent problems in the course of hybrid manufacturing; eutectic soldering processes; die, substrate, and package compatibility; the need for minimizing junction temperature; and a definitive examination of thermocompression bonding, ribbon bonding, gap welding, fine wire bonding, and other such specialist areas of the wirebonding and interconnect process.

Orchestrated by the well-regarded industry consultants, Thomas Green of TJ Green Associates LLC (and formerly staff engineer at Lockheed Martin, in addition to USAF Rome Laboratories) and Don Trenholm (President of Custom Analytical Services), we look forward to mixing and mingling with some of the most brilliant scientific minds in New England and the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard, as well as to the promised cocktail lounge event (all the more appreciated after such a seismic meeting of the minds).

Briefly, Our Company’s History and Ethos

2012 March 5
by andreakbass

Photofabrication Engineering, Inc. (PEI) got its start over 40 years ago in the Boston, MA suburb of Holliston. With a 4,000 square foot facility at the outset, we soon began providing photochemically machined parts to the nascent computer and semiconductor industries in and around Boston, as well as the fine jewelry industry of Rode Island. We believed that concentrating on producing photochemical machined parts (PCM) for these industries would be the best, most cost-effective solution in terms of providing the intricate, almost microscopic detail these industries demand, in addition to providing compact, long-lasting materials.

Business grew steadily throughout the 70s and early 80s. In 1977, the father of our current company president, William Lehrer, was asked to become PEI’s new president. William oversaw the continued development of PEI to the point where, in 1984, our company expanded into a spacious new facility in Milford, MA, a building with ten times the total floor-space of our original workplace. In addition to its being roomy and comfortable, our new facility boasted some of the most pioneering technology in photochemical machining, including a waste water treatment facility, novel techniques for separating metal etching acids for iron and copper alloys, and a quarry-pond out back in which, by way of engineering, we modified to help us cool our factory space.

Current PEI President, Chip Lehrer.

Today, we continue William Lehrer’s legacy of quality and innovative practice. Our current president, Chip Lehrer, has spurred our company towards further and greater development. Currently, we provide PCM parts for industries as various as consumer electronics, semiconductors, microwave, aerospace, food processing, microelectronics, and medical implants. We look forward to familiarizing you better with our company by means of this blog, and hopefully getting to know our clients better. It’s already been 40 years in this business. Here’s looking forward to a fresh, new century’s worth of collaborative innovation between our businesses.