Compiled ByDave Schafer Through a series of process-improvement initiatives, Nanophase Technologies Corp., a maker of nanomaterials and nanoengineered products, says it has experienced a series of significant developments in its core physical vapor synthesis (PVS) nanocrystalline manufacturing process. The company, which is implementing a lean manufacturing approach, says it has been able to achieve an additional 30% output per reactor, significantly improve its particle size control, and enhance the quality and purity of its nanomaterials. "This is a significant milestone for the company and continues our two-year sequence of successes in lowering manufacturing cost by consistently improving a wide range of operating parameters and reducing supply-chain costs," says Joseph Cross, president and CEO, Nanophase, Romeoville, Ill. Cross says during the past 15 months the company has reduced its variable manufacturing cost by about 50% and increased output per reactor from 30% to 100%, depending on the product being produced. "As these recent improvements are installed during the remainder of the year, we expect to continue to see significant further reductions in manufacturing cost and corresponding improvements in gross margins. As the implementation takes effect we will also realize additional output per reactor and expect to achieve cumulative increases of 50% to 166% from our initial baseline position." Cross says these developments provide a platform for further improvements over the next year and a half.