Liquid X Secures Series A Funding; Brings on Greg Babe as CEO

liquid xLiquid X™ Printed Metals, Inc., a Carnegie Mellon University start-up company, has announced the closing of a Series A financing round, and that it has named former Bayer Corporation President and CEO Greg Babe to serve as CEO of Liquid X™.  The financing round was led by Newlin Investment Company with additional funding from other investors.  Participating in the investment round is Innovation Works (IW), a leading investor in seed- and early-stage technology companies.

Liquid X was founded in 2010 by Richard McCullough, a nationally recognized leader in sciences, research and entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, along with Bill Newlin, the company’s first outside investor, and John A. Belot, Ph.D., who is the Scientific Officer of the company and a Visiting Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Series A financing will be used to further develop Liquid X™’s metallic conductive ink technology that allows electronics and other manufacturers to print metal traces and films onto a broad range of substrates for applications that range from medical devices and consumer electronics components, to energy applications and printed circuit boards.  Liquid X™’s innovative approach will enable manufacturers to tap the potential of metallic conductive ink technology more cost effectively than before.

“We formed Liquid X to improve the ability to design, synthesize, formulate and implement chemical inks that form conductive metal traces for the promising printed electronics market,” said Richard McCullough, now Vice Provost for Research at Harvard University.

“Because this solution can print significantly thinner films than any other solution on the market, using metals such as gold and silver, the cost savings are substantial and the end-use advantages are considerable.  This round of funding will provide us with the financial resources to accelerate the development process and the process of bringing Liquid X™ to market,” he added.

“Today and at an increasing rate in the future, electronics products across all industries, from consumer to medical device and industrial sectors, will require thinner, more powerful and robust, and more adaptable technologies for the full range of applications,” said Greg Babe, CEO of Liquid X™.  “Liquid X will enable product designers and manufacturers to more cost-effectively maximize the capabilities of metallic conductive technology.”

Babe retired from Bayer Corporation in 2012, where he was President and CEO and Senior Bayer Representative for the United States and Canada responsible for the North American activities of the worldwide Bayer Group, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany.  He was also President and CEO of Bayer MaterialScience LLC.  Since retiring from Bayer, Babe was CEO of the Pittsburgh-based Orbital Engineering.

“The potential for Liquid X™ is vast,” said Bill Newlin, Chairman of Newlin Investment Company. “Rick’s and John’s vision when developing Liquid X was unprecedented. We knew that to realize this vision, Liquid X™ required someone who has been on the world stage.  Greg Babe was the right fit.  We are confident that Greg will work to give Liquid X™ every opportunity to operate and compete on a global scale.”

Babe first joined Bayer in 1976 in the Polyurethanes Group and over the years has held several management positions of increasing responsibility in the U.S. and Germany.

He has previously served on the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and as the executive Chair of the ACC’s Responsible Care® Board Committee.

A native of West Virginia, Babe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University and in May 2012 was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Bayer MaterialScience announces investment in Baytown, Texas plant

Bayer MaterialScience is set to invest some U.S. $120 million into its Baytown,Texas, site. Baytown, which celebrates 40 years of manufacturing success this year, is the company’s largest manufacturing facility in theUnited States and is a keystone of Bayer MaterialScience’s global manufacturing strategy.

“Our Baytown plant is a critical asset in the Bayer MaterialScience global portfolio,” said Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, member of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience and head of Industrial Operations. “It is a first-rate manufacturing facility and these significant investments are our commitment to keeping it fit for the future.”

The planned U.S. $120 million investment includes:

  • Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) – environmental upgrades, reliability improvements and minor debottlenecking.
  • Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) – improved process technology, environmental upgrades, and energy efficiency and reliability improvements that will increase productivity.
  • Polycarbonate – reliability upgrades and quality improvements for advanced optical applications.

Additional investments are designed to improve the reliability of the infrastructure throughout the site.

“These comprehensive upgrades will support the growth we are anticipating in the NAFTA region,” said Greg Babe, president and CEO of Bayer Corporation and Bayer MaterialScience LLC.

Commenting on the investments, Rod Herrick,Baytowngeneral plant manager, said, “Reliability and safety are our priorities. A safe plant is a more reliable plant.  In 2010, Bayer MaterialScience Baytown employees achieved their safest record in the 40-year history of the plant. These investments are a tribute to them as well as to the ongoing performance of the site.”

MDI and TDI are highly versatile chemicals used to produce polyurethanes used in flexible foam for the furniture and automotive industries; rigid and spray foams for insulation in the construction industry; and coatings, adhesives, and sealants. Polycarbonate is used in innovative applications including automotive headlamp lenses, optical data storage (CDs and DVDs), medical devices and shatter-resistant optical lenses.

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics inNorth Americaand is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,400 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2010 sales of 10.2 billion euros. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.

Pittsburgh World Environment Day Releases Water Resources Report

Today the Pittsburgh World Environment Day Partnership released the Pittsburgh region’s first economic analysis of the water industry sector. Completed at a time when the overall water market is growing (up to ten percent annually), Pittsburgh’s H2Opportunity: An Assessment of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Water Sector offers a snapshot of the region’s strengths in water-related industries and highlights future opportunities for innovation and growth.

“Water represents a real opportunity for the greater Pittsburgh region,” said Greg Babe, co-chair of the Pittsburgh World Environment Day (WED) Partnership and president & CEO of Bayer Corporation. “All of the WED partners agreed that last June’s World Environment Day was just the beginning of our commitment to improving the sustainability and quality of life in our region. The release of the economic impact report, the planning for the Water Innovation Consortium and the exploration of supply chain potential further demonstrate our commitment,” said Babe.

The report indicates that the region has more than 3,000 firms providing water-related components, products and services that account for over 34,000 jobs and more than $5 billion in direct economic activity. In addition, water supplies sustain more than $3 billion of output in agriculture and food processing. This region’s abundant supply of water is also vital to sustaining its $13.7 billion energy sector. Key recommendations in the report include:

• Assess, organize and advance regional opportunities related to water and coordinate resources to support them;

• Identify the occupational pipeline and workforce needs for the high priority water industry sectors and develop training on more efficient uses of water for energy, industry and agriculture;

• Strategically identify and selectively recruit innovative firms and industries that can benefit from and be good stewards of the region’s abundance of high quality water;

• Support innovation and commercialization in water technology;

• Promote green water management infrastructure; and

• Initiate partnerships with other regions and identify national and international export opportunities for regional firms.

The full report, Pittsburgh’s H2Opportunity: An Assessment of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s WaterSector, can be found at: www.pittsburghwed.com.

The Week that Was in Pittsburgh Technology — 1/25-1/29

It’s hard to believe that we are already winding down the month of January. This final week was chock full of tech news from local companies.

Avere Systems is on a hot streak this month. The startup has set new performance benchmarks in tiered NAS with its Demand-Driven Storage™ solutions,  with its recently unveiled FXT Series. The introduction of the new FXT 2700 tiered NAS appliance leverages the extreme random read performance of Flash SSD to meet the highest application demands of performance-oriented customers and is the first from Avere to include an internal tier of Single Level Cell Flash Solid State Disk, delivering up to a 10x improvement in random read access for performance-critical applications such as 3D rendering, chip design and other CAD/CAE applications, database acceleration and seismic data analysis for the oil and gas industry, to name a few.  According to Avere, deploying an FXT 2700 appliance is a simple, fast and effective answer to the data access speed issue for these performance-centric users.

Greg Babe, President and CEO of Bayer Corporation and Bayer MaterialScience LLC, was named the 2009 “CEO Communicator of the Year” by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh Chapter. Babe accepted the award at the annual PRSA Renaissance Awards Ceremony on January 21. He was honored for his excellence in communications as the leader of Bayer’s U.S. operations and for his ongoing efforts to promote Pittsburgh worldwide.

 Circuits, LLC’s engineering team released the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing operations to production to offer a more dependable and cost-effective alternative for their customers. Rigid- flex PCBs enable weight-reduction and more compact packaging with improved performance ideal for many military, aerospace and medical applications.

Circuits, LLC is well-equipped to take on rigid-flex PCB processing. The 50,000 square foot fabricating and testing facility houses a built-to-purpose, flow-optimized workspace specifically designed and equipped to produce consistent, high-quality flexible printed circuits with minimum handling and transport. Techburgher took a tour of the faclity this past Tuesday. The PCB manufacturing facility features a fully-integrated Class 1,000 clean room, a laser driller/router and a custom plating line configured for the production of complex circuits. It’s really cool to see a small advanced manufacturer just getting out of the blocks. Very encouraging!

Don’t forget to tune in to TechVibe Radio(tm) on 1410 AM KQV this weekend. We’re on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m. It’s a rebroadcast of last week’s show, featuring NewBold, B-Three Solutions and Jr. PghTech Women’s Lego League.

Bayer Corporation CEO Greg Babe Named “CEO Communicator of the Year”

Greg Babe, President and CEO of Bayer Corporation and Bayer MaterialScience LLC, was named the 2009 “CEO Communicator of the Year” by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh Chapter. Babe accepted the award at the annual PRSA Renaissance Awards Ceremony on January 21.

Babe was honored for his excellence in communications as the leader of Bayer’s U.S. operations and for his ongoing efforts to promote Pittsburgh worldwide.  This includes: 

  • Establishing news media accessibility through local and national interviews.
  • Encouraging local and national news media to cover business, education and diversity issues.
  • Advancing Bayer internal communications via an Intranet site and hosting regular events for Bayer employees and retirees.
  • Actively promoting worldwide attention to the Pittsburgh region throughout the G-20 Summit.
  • Leading the community team that secured and announced the United Nations’ 2010 World Environment Day to be held in Pittsburgh on June 5.