The Rochester Section of the American Chemical Society has selected NiCoForm Founder and President Berl Stein as its 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year.
The award is in recognition of Stein’s development of innovative new chemistry for the highly precise fabrication of metal parts with superior mechanical and chemical properties using electroforming. Stein founded NiCoForm in 1999 to commercialize his breakthrough additive manufacturing technology.
Stein will be recognized at the chemical society’s annual awards dinner in 2021. Officials said the award, and Stein’s technical and business accomplishments, highlight the continuing central role of chemistry in the economic development of the Rochester area.
NiCoForm’s core technology, electroforming, is an electroplating-based process used to produce exact metal replicas of various shapes and textures by depositing a thick metal layer onto a mandrel, or original to be replicated. This allows the fabrication of high-quality precision metal parts, such as bellows and catheter tip-forming dies, that would be difficult to manufacture by conventional metal fabrication processes.
Stein, who hails from Chernivtsi, Ukraine, moved to the U.S. in 1988 and joined a Rochester manufacturer in 1995. He founded NiCoForm with a single hand-me-down tank on the fifth floor of a building overlooking Eastman Kodak Co. downtown.
The company has grown to 22 employees and occupies a much larger space, yet still in the same Cascade Drive building it was founded in. Stein attributes the company’s success to the continual improvement of its chemical and processing technologies to meet the ever-evolving needs of his diverse customers, particularly in the critical medical device, aerospace, optical and other high-tech applications.
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