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April 19, 2021 / 2021 Tech 25

2021 Tech 25: Gas analysis technology maker Max Analytical’s growth will have it searching for a new home

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Max Analytical has developed technology that helps with the measurement of gases.
At a Glance Company: Max Analytical Technologies Industry: Advanced manufacturing Top Executive: John Stack, CEO HQ: 32 N Rd, East Windsor No. of Employees: 18 Company Website: Phone Number: 860-386-6878 See all 2021 Tech 25 honorees
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Maintaining the purity of gases is a vital but tricky part of many manufacturing processes, natural gas transmission, healthcare and semiconductor sterilization and ambient air quality.

Where would soda be without carbonation?

Where would air quality be without catalytic converters?

Max Analytical Technologies in East Windsor has an answer that’s reshaping the industry.

For years, gas chromatography has been the standard for measuring the purity of gases and identifying contaminants. But that process has issues. The equipment is costly, bulky, hard to calibrate and manage.

That’s where FTIR — Fourier-transform infrared — technology comes in. Its roots date to the late 19th century and it’s been in general use since the 1980s. FTIR collects high-resolution spectral data over a wide spectral range. And in the hands of Max Analytical Technologies, it’s been reimagined into a game-changer, says CEO John Stack.

John Stack

Max Analytical’s advantage is in its software and patented methods, Stack explains. Max Analytical measures most contaminants down to single-digit parts per billion and in some cases parts per trillion, a significant improvement. And, while most competing technology require repeated calibration, Max Analytical products never need to be recalibrated. When the contaminates change, an extensive database can be used to install a new calibration in near real time.

Max Analytical got its start in 2016 as part of an environmental service firm in Michigan. After an ownership change, the environmental services firm decided to focus on its core business and sold the FTIR assets to Connecticut entrepreneurs in late 2017.

Since then, Max Analytical has been busily building systems and honing its niche in the measurement of gases.

“We do a few things really well,” Stack says.

Today, its client base includes a host of Fortune 500 companies. Stack proudly points to Coca-Cola and says Max Analytical’s MaxBev equipment analyzes the CO2 used in many of its sodas. On the automotive side, Honda and Ford use Max Analytical equipment. Other familiar names on the client list are GE, Honeywell, 3M and MedLine.

The materials used in the equipment are from Connecticut sources and are assembled in the East Windsor facility. Units cost $60,000 to $200,000 each.

Stack declined to discuss revenue but did say the firm is profitable, has a compound annual growth rate of 35% and is debt free. Next up is global expansion, especially into Asian markets.

Back in 2017, the newly-relocated Connecticut firm raised about $1.3 million in initial capital from about 20 investors.

Connecticut Innovations passed twice, Stack recalls.

“We didn’t fit their formula,” he said.

One of the issues was the absence of a lead investor but Stack said he also senses a preference toward healthcare and software firms and against advanced manufacturing, long a staple of the Connecticut economy.

Max Analytical will soon outgrow its East Windsor assembly facility and Stack expects to be out later this year seeking capital investment. This time, he says he’s also looking north to Massachusetts and pondering his options.

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