Innovation & Integration

Stay Innovative and Up-to-Date

Whether you are starting a brand new business or taking a long-standing company in a new direction, we can help you identify and implement the small business innovations that will keep you current and efficient. From the outset, Maine MEP’s team can work with your company on business plans and formation—or we can support you in integrating new and improved systems and technology.  

And if you’re trying to transform your ideas into prototypes or products, our partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine can create an easy, custom solution for you. Their dedicated staff and state-of-the-art facility offer the services you need to accelerate growth and add value to your newest innovation.

Expanding your product line? Let us talk you through a plan to smooth the process. We are also adept at supporting manufacturers bring in new systems and technologies.


Ntension leverages new technology to save 40 jobs and create new product line

Situation

In March 2020, pandemic shutdowns paralyzed the trade show industry and Ntension’s work evaporated overnight.  Ntension, a Hermon-based wholesale manufacturer of custom fabric trade show exhibits, considered furloughing its 40 employees. Fortunately, Ntension was able to pivot quickly and use the materials they had on hand to produce facemasks and respirator filtration pods for a local healthcare provider.

Maine MEP Solution

Ntension approached Maine MEP’s partner the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) at the University of Maine for assistance testing the materials they had on hand for filtration effectiveness and to develop a mold for half mask filtration pods.

Early on in the pandemic John Belding, Director at the AMC, and his team designed a system to pull particles through material to compare the filtration performance. This system allowed AMC to provide immediate feedback to Ntension and fortunately, the materials that they had access to have a very high filtration rate.  Perfect for mask making and filters for half mask respirators.

After determining the filtration rate of the fabric, AMC was able to assist Ntension with the design and development of a mold to produce replaceable filtration pods for half mask respirators.  Using 3D metal printing technology AMC was able to print a mold quickly and at a low cost.

Results

Ntension has produced more than 700,000 face shields and 8,000 half-mask filtration pods for Northern Light Health. Additionally they have a 2-year contract to produce 6 million masks for the health care facilities; 1.3 million are currently warehoused for distribution.

  • 2-year contract to produce 6 million masks
  • > 700,000 face shields and 8,000 half-mask filtration pods produced
  • 40 employees working throughout the pandemic
  • 2 highly skilled engineers hired from AMC

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