Susan MacKay, CEO of Cerahelix Inc. of Orono, with one of the high tech ceramic filters the company makes. The company attracted close to $2.1 million in new financing March 2018, and is using it to expand with a new manufacturing plant that opens on Dec. 7. Credit: Courtesy of Cerahelix

Cerahelix, a company that has been developing high-tech filters in Orono, said Friday it will open a new manufacturing facility Dec. 7 at the Bangor Innovation Center to support its growth.

The company raised close to $2.1 million in equity and preferred stock in March 2018 to expand manufacturing, sales and marketing and hire up to four people this year, Cerahelix CEO Susan MacKay said. She may hire another four people next year when the factory is up and running.

“We will keep our current R&D center in Orono,” MacKay said.

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The 1,500 square feet of factory space will be used for nanocoating, which places the company’s ceramic membranes onto stainless steel tubes made by Davis Brothers, based in Chester.

The company makes a high-tech filter with pores that are 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. They can separate solids such as sugar or salt to produce highly pure liquids, such as in desalination of salt water for drinking water or removing sugars from food and beverage wastewater, according to MacKay.

The food and beverage industry is her first focus for sales. She is in the process of hiring a sales manager and would not comment on any client names.

Cerahelix, located in the UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship in Orono, currently employs 13 people. The new space is at the Bangor Innovation Center at 40 Johnston St.

[Orono high-tech filter maker attracts $2M to expand]

MacKay said she already has spent about $150,000 for some new equipment plus upgrades to the manufacturing space.

The new manufacturing facility includes a clean room and nanocoating equipment to produce the company’s PicoHelix filter.

“Our new manufacturing facility, situated in the Bangor Foreign Trade Zone and within close proximity to the airport, will allow Cerahelix to expand globally. Our R&D department, located in Orono, will be able to focus on continually improving our filtration products to meet market needs,” Cerahelix’s production manager James Hutchinson said.

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