Research & Development, Analytical Services and Consulting in Advanced Sensors, Materials and Fuels
AFR's has developed a successful strategy for commercialization of advanced technologies. The first step is to work closely with industrial strategic partners (often starting in Phase I of technology development) to develop technology based upon real customer needs. AFR may then seek additional development funding from industry or government. AFR then sells its first commercial units directly to its industrial partners and other industrial "early adopters". A comprehensive business plan is created, and when a technology/market combination demonstrates enough promise to exist profitably on its own, based upon initial customer responses and business plan analysis, a free-standing spin off firm, to make and sell products, is created. AFR technology is transferred or licensed to that spin-off company.
For example, a number of key AFR patents were transferred to a spin-off company partially owned by AFR shareholders. This spin-off firm, On-Line is manufacturing and marketing gas-state sensors, wafer-state sensors (for the semiconductor manufacturing industry), process control software, and thin film monitors. On-Line is now a part of MKS Instruments Corporation. An additional spin-off company was created in 2001, Real-Time Analyzers (Continuous, real-time, trace chemical detection) and another called Image Insight, Inc. was spun-off in 2011 to commercialize advanced image analysis software for Homeland Security applications. TurboSense is a potential future spin-off company.
Thermogravimetric analysis, with FT-IR analysis of the evolved products (TG-FTIR), was developed with governmental support and ABB Bomem, Inc. successfully marketed instruments under license. The company's FG-DVC (Functional-Group, Depolymerization, Vaporization, Crosslinking) model, also developed with government support, is a comprehensive code for predicting yields and compositions of coal, biomass and waste pyrolysis products that is now in use at more than 50 domestic and international laboratories. FT-IR combustion monitoring hardware and software has been sold directly by AFR to industrial and academic customers, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, ABB Combustion Engineering, Brigham Young University, Factory Mutual Research Corp., Babcock & Wilcox, Dow Chemical USA, Air Liquide, 3M, NASA Glenn Research Center, and Arizona State University. AFR has a close working relationship with the University of Connecticut, and the president of AFR serves on the industrial advisory board of UCONN's Department of Chemical Engineering.
R&D 100 Award Winner 2012, 2008, 2001, 1996, and 1995