Rob Brueggeman and I recently returned from exhibiting at SPIE’s Defense, Security & Sensing tradeshow in Baltimore. This is the big IR camera and night vision meeting and our little tabletop had the usual Laser Gold stuff with the emphasis on “cold shields.” Also known as a radiation shields, this component plays a critical role in many of the products on display at this exhibit.
The common method for making these devices is to electroform them in copper over an aluminum mandrel and, while still on the mandrel, polish and Laser Gold plate the exterior, then we chemically dissolve out the aluminum and apply our Laser Black coating on the interior..
Floor traffic at this show seemed diminished compared to previous years when this show outgrew its Orlando venue, so with Rob manning the booth I took off trolling the aisles for new customers and greeting old friends.
Exchanging gold plated paperclips for the ubiquitous pens, I worked my way through the hall.
A booth with beryllium castings slowed me down. The material, beryllium, itself is some what unusual, but seeing it in the form of a casting, was even more so. Since we are expert at plating beryllium and its sister alloy, aluminum-beryllium, I thought this might be a “live one” and I addressed the gentleman that appeared to be the head man, with my usual introduction: “We are that oxymoron known as a “good plater.” If that doesn’t achieve the requisite smile, I follow it up with, “You know, the plater that actually does what the drawing calls out.” (I spared him our Mission Statement, “…to make you look smarter than we both know you really are”).
After the usual tradeshow banter, I was approached by what I thought was the junior member of this sales team. What brought him into the conversation, was my detailed iteration of the properties of Laser Gold. His name is Chris Huskamp and he has his own company, Huskamp Motorsports Engineering. He asked, “Can you do Laser Gold on foil?” Remembering my David Sandler sales training, I responded with a question. “Why do you want to do that?” He explained how much damage radiant heat does to racecar performance and incidentally driver comfort. He planned to use the foil to protect many of the carbon fiber components from the engine and exhaust pipe heat.
He said that he was only helping out the guy with the beryllium booth because that metal has also application in racecars but he had no direct connection with that company I invited him back to our exhibit to expand his knowledge of Laser Gold and its applications.
Here’s where it gets weird: At the same moment that I returned to my booth with Chris Huskamp in tow, Jack Kleinfeld arrived of Kleinfeld Technical Services. (www.kleinfeldtechnical.com) Jack was the thermal engineer that did the research for our company on the effectiveness of Laser Gold foil in protecting carbon fiber from 1000Â° F temperatures.
Jack was also trolling the exhibit hall for poential customers who might make use of his unique talents namely, heat tranfer simulation and thermal imaging. The more Jack talked, the more excited Chris Huskamp got. “Get me a sample of the foil,” he said, and Rob with his usual efficiency was on his cell phone calling the shop to get a sample on its way. It turns out that Chris has deep connections in the Formula racecar world and feels that this community is quite comfortable co-opting aerospace technology.
We struck a deal at the booth for him to be our sales rep for the racing crowd!
While we had a good show with our usual customers, it was connecting with Chris Huskamp that was a most unexpected and pleasurable event for both of us. Jack Kleinfeld’s arrival, was just “icing on the cake”.
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I am off to Munich for the giant European “Laser World of Photonics” Exhibit, May 14th to 16th, and thanks to having a terrific Rep in Gemany, Hartwig Martius, I will be able to take a day-trip to cover a conflicting trade show in Nuremburg where I hope to expand a new and interesting customer base; air sensors that use infrared gas cells. We manufacture these cells, the heart of the instrument, for some half-dozen manufacturers already and like the cold shields , they are electroformed. Except these are fomed in nickel with a highly poiished Laser Gold interior.
Laser Gold plated thermal barrier foil competes for reflective perfomance with my head. These panels are for a unique Porsche.
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