Merger of Innovation and Expertise Results in Growth for NYS Companies

April 15, 2010 – Orchard Park, N.Y. – Polymer Conversions, Inc. and SensGard LLC, with support from the University at Buffalo, have successfully partnered to increase production capabilities for the ZEM hearing protection device.

Rob DiNardo and Greg Post, co-founders of Fairport, N.Y.-based SensGard LLC, were ready to take their hearing protection business to the next level, marketing the ZEM device to a global audience. A meeting with Ben Harp, COO for Polymer Conversions, introduced the injection molder’s capabilities to a small NYS company ready for expansion.

Financial barriers existed until DiNardo and Post learned of a funding program from University at Buffalo’s Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT), a program of UB’s New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation, housed at the Center of Excellence. UB CAT encourages university-industry collaboration, with an emphasis on helping New York State-based businesses gain a technological advantage over their competition. Under the guidance of Donald Henderson, Ph.D., UB professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, the UB CAT program was able to support the development project with matching funds that provided an incentive for SensGard to proceed with the Polymer Conversions partnership.

“The tooling used for initial production of the ZEM device was development tooling, made of softer steels and less durable than what is needed for high-volume manufacturing,” Harp stated. “Polymer built high-volume-capable tooling and in the process, used our engineering resources to fine-tune aspects of the product design.”

Polymer produced 100 samples of the hearing protection device in November of 2009, with the first production run completed in early February of 2010. SensGard has since ordered another 6,000 units. “Polymer enables us to go to first tier companies to pitch the ZEM,” said Rob DiNardo, co-founder of SensGard. “These companies are not going to buy our product unless they first visit the production plant and verify the quality standards are in place. Polymer allows us to be a viable player in any area.”

Since 1979, Polymer Conversions, Inc. has specialized in highly technical, tight-tolerance medical devices, medical components, biometrics devices, and gearing parts. The Orchard Park, N.Y. technology center is fully equipped with Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) systems that apply 6 Sigma principles to injection molding presses ranging from 28 to 390 tons. The center includes a clean room molding area, a full service tool room with mold making capabilities, and secondary operations such as decorating, assembly, custom automation, and packaging capabilities.