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Innovating America At Touchstone Labs

It’s hard to stress just how important last week’s news that Veloxint, a manufacturer of nanocrystalline metal alloys, has located its operatiopns at the Millennium Centre in Triadelphia. The company eventually will employ 200 to 300 skilled workers in high-paying jobs right here in Ohio County.

And as has been the case since the 1980s, Brian Joseph and his Touchstone Research Laboratory are at the center of innovation in our region.

Veloxint was developed at MIT, and will be used to create some of the world’s strongest tools, said Joseph, Touchstone’s president and CEO. A group of investors acquired the rights to Veloxint from MIT, and began looking for a partner to help in its manufacture.

That led to meetings with Joseph, and the announcement the company has relocated to our area to partner with Touchstone in the manufacturing process.

Joseph said MIT researchers spent 15 years developing Veloxint. They learned how to break down chromium, titanium and later copper into nanoscopic molecular grains, which resulted in new alloys that can be two to five times stronger than traditional alloys made from the same input metals. The new product is resistant to corrosion.

Touchstone will use the product specifically to make jet engines lighter and more efficient.

“This has been the holy grail for metal development for the last 50 years,” Joseph said. “The smaller you make a grain size, the stronger it gets.”

Having a skilled workforce here helped make the move possible.

“Boston is a great place, but it is not a great place to manufacture metals,” Joseph said. “At one time, it was a center for manufacturing.

“Now it’s about inventions and great stuff. But making metal alloys — no.”

Local leaders tasked with redeveloping our region could take lessons from Joseph, as he is continually innovating his operation and his products. From CFoam and CStone to MetPreg and others, the company always is looking to the future. We need more Brian Josephs in our region if we want to chart a new and productive path forward.


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