North Bay manufacturing companies are notoriously modest when it comes to trumpeting accomplishments, more likely to associate the term “PR” with a pressure regulator than public relations. So we’re often taken aback to discover what’s being made in our midst. In the spirit of blowing their horns for them we elicited some little-known facts from local manufacturers.
In Petaluma, X2nSat employees worked around the clock last week to preempt the potential satellite uplink needs of its clients in the path of Hurricane Irene, keeping life-saving information like 911 calls and shipping information online. The company’s satellite broadcast technology also made possible the oil spill cam broadcast by news services all over the world from the BP Gulf Oil rig.***
[caption id="attachment_39806" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Adidas and SkyTag.net used Clear Focus Imaging's window graphics film to promote an NBA all-star game in Las Vegas."][/caption]
Clear Focus Imaging in Santa Rosa, a pioneer in see-through window graphics, recently made a big splash in Los Vegas. During an NBA all-star game in that city, Clear Focus window graphics film promoted the event from the facades of seven major Los Vegas high-rise hotels and casinos.***
Those public art displays in the San Francisco Airport are protected by acrylic cases made by Architectural Plastics of Petaluma for the last 25 years. Without them SFO would have to pay huge security costs to protect the art and most likely would discontinue the displays entirely.***
If you’ve been in a rear ender lately your car was introduced to a “nokker,” the one tool indispensable to body shops. They’re found in every shop in the U.S. and most of them are made in Petaluma by Morgan Manufacturing. Also called a slide hammer, the nine-pound tool helps pull dented body panels back to their proper position, using the momentum of the weighted slide as an experienced operator forces it back and forth.***
[caption id="attachment_39809" align="alignright" width="176" caption="The PAX Lily impeller moves huge amounts of water continually with the power of three light bulbs."][/caption]
PAX Water Technologies in Novato used biomicmicry to design a six-inch lily-shaped impeller that continuously moves millions of gallons of potable water inside storage tanks using only 300 watts, the power equivalent of three light bulbs. The technology significantly reduces the amount of chemicals used to disinfect water.***
[caption id="attachment_39808" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="This LEMO USA connector is used on Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan."][/caption]
LEMO USA’s connectors are being used in Apache helicopters in Afghanistan. The Rohnert Park branch of Switzerland-based LEMO was chosen to supply the military with the components because of their lightweight and antivibration qualities.***
Also flying above the war zone in the Middle East are parts from Novato’s OMW. The precision machine shop makes structural components of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for some of the largest defense and commercial aircraft manufacturers in the world.***
And small but highly regarded DJ Grey in Healdsburg does electronic assembly for some of the biggest players in telecommunications, defense, electronics and aerospace. Expert in reverse engineering, DJ Grey is currently deconstructing and rewiring a telecommunications switching systems as large as two or three refrigerators....Submit items for this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.