June 18, 2004, Lancaster, Pennsylvania – Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) was featured in the local newspaper, Lancaster New Era. Below is the feature article in the newspaper’s June 17, 2004 Business Section.
LANCASTER, PA, ABLE TO TAKE THE HEAT
Publication Source Lancaster New Era
Publication Date 2004-06-17
June 17 – A young company’s expertise in getting rid of heat that’s a byproduct of running high-tech equipment has created a byproduct of its own: Growth.
Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc. specializes in developing ways to draw away and dissipate heat generated by not only electronic equipment, but also nuclear-powered systems. And in one case, the human body.
Established just 18 months ago, ACT is solving the problem of “waste heat” on both Navy ships and spaceships, among other projects.
In April alone, ACT landed three research and development contracts totaling $545,000. One, for $230,000, is to help the Navy convert hydraulically powered surface ships, such as cruisers and destroyers, to electrical propulsion. The others have aerospace applications, such as finding better ways to remove heat from space vehicles, including the space shuttle, as they re-enter the earth’s atmosphere.
With projects such as these, ACT is on its way to fulfilling the expectations of one of its founders, Jon Zuo, its president and chief technical officer. “I saw some opportunities in the government and military and aerospace thermo-management areas, so I came out and started this new company,” said Zuo. To do so, Zuo left his research and development job at Thermacore Inc., a local company that’s been a pioneer in the development of heat pipes, which are used to cool sophisticated electronics systems. ACT uses heat pipes in about half of its work, but also develops and manufactures other heat-transfer systems, Zuo said. Zuo and two other founders, who do not wish to be named, formed ACT in January 2003. The company is in the Burle Business Park, 1046 New Holland Ave.
In a sense, the company has come full circle, Zuo pointed out. Burle was the location of the former RCA Corp., which spawned Thermacore. Thermacore, 780 Eden Road, was founded in 1970 by Yale Eastman, now on ACT’s board of directors. Thermacore was acquired in 2001 by Modine Manufacturing of Racine, Wisconsin.
Including Zuo, ACT now has nine full-time employees, with possibly two or three more to be added by year-end, Zuo said. Zuo expects the company to reach annual revenues of $3 million in 2005, double the $1.5 million projected for this year.
ACT’s three-year Navy project is being done under a contract with the University of California at Los Angeles and the Office of Naval Research. ACT is using a vaporization process, rather than heat pipes, to remove heat from a ship’s electrical propulsion system. “The vaporization process is a very, very effective way of absorbing heat,” says Zuo. In the prototypes being developed by ACT, the vapor is then moved to a condenser/heat exchanger to dissipate the heat, Zuo explained.
As for the other two aerospace projects, Zuo declined to identify the defense contractors that awarded the contracts to ACT. But he did say ACT is involved in President Bush’s aerospace initiatives, in that the company is working with NASA on ways to dissipate heat from equipment aboard spacecraft. Specifically, ACT is working on Project Prometheus, deep-space exploration planned for 2015, and is developing heat pipes to be incorporated into a nuclear-powered propulsion system.
Venturing into the biomedical field, ACT just developed a product for a medical equipment manufacturer that uses heat-pipe technology to freeze cancerous tissue before surgery. “We can cool that spot from plus 40 degrees Celsius to minus 40 degrees Celsius in less than three minutes,” said Zuo. (That’s 104 Fahrenheit to minus 40 Fahrenheit.) Similarly, the company was called upon when a Hong Kong airport, reacting to last year’s SARS outbreak, was installing optical sensors to detect the body temperatures of passengers, to flag those with fevers; ACT developed calibration equipment for that.
In terms of defense contracts, Zuo noted that ACT just received a $100,000 contract from the Missile Defense Agency to begin development of a thermo-storage device for a defense weapons system that would dissipate and store heat generated by laser equipment.
Also, Zuo expects the company to develop electronics cooling technologies for the telecommunications industry and the energy market, namely in fuel cells.
Before founding ACT, Zuo spent seven years at Thermacore, after working as a post-doctoral research associate for Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. A native of China, Zuo came to the United States in 1991 after earning a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Huavhong Institute of Technology. He received his doctorate from the University of Central Florida. Married and the father of two, Zuo, 36, resides in Manheim Township.
ACT is a high technology small business specializing in heat transfer technologies. Founded in January 2003 and headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ACT’s mission is to develop innovative thermal technologies and provide technology based thermal products to customers in electronics, energy systems, aerospace, military and government sectors.
ACT’s two main business areas are Technology Development and Engineering Services & Products. The Technology Development business undertakes both externally and internally sponsored research and development activities. The Engineering Services & Products business designs and fabricates thermal devices and systems that satisfy customers’ specific thermal and mechanical requirements.