WA (PRWEB via PR
Web Direct ) June 9, 2005 –- Microstaq founders
Steve Booth and Jeff Chance knew a lot about automotive
systems and little about microtechnology when they
set out eight years ago to create a new business
making a better flow control valve. Having worked
in business development and sales for a large automotive
company, the two were in a position to improve on
the manufacturing of traditional mechanical valves
that run various automotive flow control systems
and they knew how to sell it.
They were seeking a manufacturer for their valve when they met Bob Mehalso, an
internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology and microsystems. Mehalso
is a consultant in micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS technology, and
a man with many contacts in the micro-manufacturing industry. His innovative
approaches to commercializing nanosystems have lead to products such as ink-jet
print heads and fuel-injection nozzles.
Mehalso had just one word for Booth and Chance: silicon.
Why not replace the car's bulky, seventeen-part mechanical valve with a radically
smaller single silicon chip capable of controlling the same fluids?
Through Mehalso's contacts Booth and Chance inked a commercial agreement with
the inventor of a silicon microvalve technology designed for harsh environment
flow control systems. Today, Microstaq's employees include both silicon and flow
control experts who are working together to bring MEMS technology to the automotive
world of flow control. Microstaq's tiny silicon chip, whose production is expected
to get under way in late 2006, promises to revolutionize the fluid control industry
as the transistor did in the electronics world.
The miniature silicon wafer promises to control the flow of liquids, mists and
gases in air-conditioning, transmission, braking and other automotive systems
operating at high pressures and high flows. Its lighter weight and smaller size,
coupled with its resistive, linear flow control characteristics, have the potential
to contribute to vehicle fuel economy and to reduce power consumption in every
car, truck and SUV that uses it.
Booth and Chance believe their patented microtechnology has broad application
potential that could result in a number of business and technical partnerships
across multiple industries. For instance, the microvalve technology has great
potential for the miniaturization of flow control in biomedical, refrigeration,
aerospace and aeronautics. Its portability, low cost, accuracy and small fluid
volume requirements also make it ideal for point-of-use chemical mixing and for
active cooling of complex, heat generating electronic systems such as modern
The company's silicon chip-based flow control technology leverages proven silicon
wafer processing techniques to create a single-structure, ‘solid state' valve
capable of controlling a range of fluids in today's high-pressure, high-flow
rate control environments without the traditional membrane or orifice-type microvalve
designs. The chip's cost, size, weight, durability, performance and component
integration capability offer strong benefits for auto manufacturers and automotive
“In a demanding world marketplace, product miniaturization matters,” Booth said. “Business
partnerships are also important, and Microstaq recognizes the benefits of partnering
with people and organizations to efficiently develop and market this valve technology
in promising business sectors.”
Microstaq's valve technology has so much business potential that the company
received a $2 million federal award in 2001 from the U.S Department of Commerce
National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program
to complete the development of its unique microvalve. Microstaq has also obtained
several research grant awards from New York State Energy Research and Development
In 2004 the company received over $2 million in venture capital funding.
Microstaq ( www.microstaq.com ) is a privately
held company founded in 2000 to bring MEMS technology to the flow control world
of automotive systems. Microstaq designs, develops and manufactures high-performance
MEMS silicon valve systems capable of operating in normal to extreme flow control
Co-founders Steve Booth and Jeff Chance were business development and sales managers
in the automotive air-conditioning and engine cooling industry before founding
the company to address flow control opportunities in the air-conditioning and
refrigeration industries. Formerly known as Alumina Micro, the company moved
to Bellingham in 2002.
Microstaq recognizes the benefits of business partnerships to efficiently market
its valve technology and seeks partnerships that will successfully market its
flow control technology into promising business sectors.
Executive Vice President