Amorphic Tech Brings ‘New Age Manufacturing’ into Skeleton of Old

By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on March 5, 2021

Amorphic Tech Ltd., which operates out of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown, was the subject of a virtual lecture series by the National Museum of Industrial History. (Courtesy of Amorphic Tech Ltd.)

Amorphic Tech Ltd.’s facility in Allentown could be a metaphor for its founder’s philosophy on advanced manufacturing: building on the fundamentals of the old to create something new.

Inside a converted Mack Truck plant, the 7-year-old startup makes components for precise cryogenic systems that could be used in quantum computers and has designed solutions for large industrial mechanical systems. It is pioneering technology that could help freshwater producers reduce their energy costs by 20% to 40%.

Its collection of tools includes modern, automated lathes that turn out perfectly concentric and perpendicular pieces fast and a pair of World War II-era manual lathes – one still wearing its wartime badges.

“I really love the concept of doing new age manufacturing of the most modern type in the skeleton of the old and using it in a way that you can allow it to inspire you and take what’s already come and use it to create something new,” Amorphic Tech Founder and President Andrew Schevets said during a recent National Museum of Industrial History forum.

The forum, part of the “Meet the Manufacturer Virtual Lecture” series, was moderated by Andria Zaia, museum curator of collections, and R. Scott Unger, executive director of Allentown Economic Development Corporation. The premier sponsor was Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, and the series sponsor was Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.

The series, which is available on the museum’s social media channels, highlights innovators in a region rich in industrial heritage. From Crayola crayons to marshmallow Peeps, the vast array of popular products made in the region produced in 2019 an economic output of $7.1 million. Advanced manufacturers like Amorphic Tech employ more than half of the 33,400 jobs in the region’s manufacturing sector.

In the half-hour program which first aired Feb. 28, Schevets, tells the story of how Amorphic Tech went from an idea he dreamed up in his house into a thriving business that counts the federal government, Fortune 500 companies and local businesses among its customers.

Schevets, an Emmaus High School graduate, said he always loved taking things apart: motorized bicycles and cars. He majored in mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and worked for a major pump and fluid control manufacturer before branching out on his own.

Among his early ideas was an energy recovery device that would reduce the energy cost of fresh water. Early prototypes were 20% more efficient than conventional technology, but the product needed more work to be commercialized. The company shifted gears to a services-oriented operation where it built up manufacturing capabilities and expertise.

Amorphic Tech is now a multi-faceted engineering solutions company. It provides sophisticated prototypes and design solutions for industrial mechanical systems including rotating machinery, power generation, water purification and batch and full-scale manufacturing.

Amorphic Tech is located at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, a business incubator dedicated primarily to manufacturing. It’s a  project of Allentown Economic Development Corporation.

Here are some excerpts from the program:

Why the company is called Amorphic Tech

“That idea came about because new 3-D modeling and manufacturing capabilities enable you to create things that were previously not possible. So you’ll have some set of functional requirements and previously you had to conform

Amorphic Tech is based at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown. (Courtesy of Amorphic Tech Ltd.)

to making this square and these really uniform shapes. But now, you can create something that is abstract almost artistic with the goal of complete functional optimization. So Amorphic — you could take that idea of being shapeless

and formless like water and use it to enable your products and your technology to take form in a way that previously wasn’t possible.”

How manufacturing has changed over the last decade

“I love to see there has almost been a democratizing effect of manufacturing as technology has trickled down, as computer, 3-D modelling and CAD/CAM has become widely accessible to everybody. All of a sudden the average person, child or student can have fun and make things and have a 3-D printer and take something straight out of their brain and see what it looks like.”

Why aspiring advanced manufacturers should learn manual equipment

“You have to walk before you can run…You have to learn the manual techniques processes first and you need to understand the challenges and where you might fail. Then you’ll take that, grow that and interpolate your skill set to use the automated equipment.”

What’s rewarding about using old equipment

“It’s really fun to me when I use an old 3D printer and a $30 filament to print things like a custom rubber seal which will hold up to 1800 PSI.”

Favorite material to work with

Part of the fun of making things is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all the materials and how you need to treat them to get what you want in the end. I find a standard 300 series stainless is particularly fascinating because of their anti-corrosion capabilities but also able to withstand high temperatures and minimize creep.

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