Berkshire Black Iron

Hi-Tech first started manufacturing Aerospace components and assemblies in 1994.  The interesting thing about this Aerospace work is that it wasn’t the traditional trim pieces or covers for the cockpit or fuselage.  All of the components and assemblies that Hi-Tech manufacture go into the belly of the airplane and most have significant mechanical requirements.

Based on environmental requirements, resins like PEEK and PPS were necessary and when the mechanical requirements were significant, carbon fiber was needed.  At this time, 30% Carbon Fiber filled PEEK from RTP was rather unique, as it used high modulus carbon fiber.

Most people that have worked in Aerospace understand the glacial pace at which change occurs.  Naturally, moving from metallics to thermoplastics would occur at a similar pace.  In the early years, some engineers would refer to Carbon Fiber Filled PEEK as “Black Aluminum”.  Back then, widespread acceptance of “composites” was not where it is today, so “Black Aluminum” sounded like a baby step.

Fifteen years later, Hi-Tech is still molding “Black Aluminum”, but we like to call it “Berkshire Black Iron”.  Hi-Tech has designed, built and debugged over 50 different molds using 30% Carbon Fiber filled PEEK.  Hi-Tech has developed expertise around this material and that is why we call it “Berkshire Black Iron”.

Hi-Tech wanted to manufacture a giveaway that helped to communicate this idea of “Berkshire Black Iron”.Our team got together and the “Berkshire Black Iron Bottle opener” was born.  Various concepts were bounced around and we settled on the geometry you see below.

Some of the components that Hi-Tech produces from CF PEEK require interesting gating scenarios, so we have fairly sizable pieces of scrap left over.  Before building a mold, we wanted to be sure that customers and colleagues liked the bottle opener.

Hi-Tech took some of this scrap from molding and developed a machining process to cut out two bottle openers from one piece in 5 minutes.  Eric Wheeler drew up the original model and helped to build the design.  Nate Sartori both helped to optimize the design of the opener and speed up the machining process.  Any giveaway must have your company information.  Tim Gregoire took the openers and using a Laser Engraver put all pertinent information about Hi-Tech on the opener.

Hi-Tech’s “Berkshire Black Iron Bottle opener” is an example of how we do product development.  The first place these Bottle openers can be found is at the NSSF Shot Show Supplier Showcase.  Hi-Tech will be at booth S2332.  If you stop by the booth and let us scan your badge, we’ll give you a bottle opener until supplies last.