Torrey Hills Technologies, LLC receives Federal Tibbetts Award for Game-Changing Coal Mine Safety Innovation


Joyce Zhang
(858) 558-6666

(SAN DIEGO, CA, May 16, 2013) -- Torrey Hills Technologies, LLC (THT) was named as a winner of the 2013 Tibbetts Award at the White House today for the commercialization of its game-changing coal mine safety technology under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program . The Tibbetts Awards recognizes individuals or corporations that have visibly made a technological impact on the economy and society and embodies the spirit and intent of the (SBIR) program.

¡°This project opens up a whole new playground for our long-term growth,¡± said Ken Kuang, President and CEO of THT. ¡°The lesson I wish to share with the microelectronic society is that despite the downward cycle showing in our industry, the technology you possess is your greatest asset and can be used to solve problems outside your existing network. You can make a buck or two at the same time.¡±

This R&D and commercialization project was inspired by a tragedy. In 2010, an explosion in Massey Energy¡¯s Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia left 29 miners dead. Kuang, a veteran in the field of microelectronic assembly and packaging, decided to find a way to prevent a coal mine accident like this. Coincidently, an Australian company placed an order for the company¡¯s HENGLI® belt furnace for a novel application - residual coal ash content analysis. Kuang and his team studied the coal mine industry extensively and decided that some existing technologies in the packaging industry can be utilized in the making of a device to capture methane gas and convert it into harmless substance. THT was awarded a $149,986 Phase I grant in 2011 and a $500,000 Phase II grant in 2012 from the NSF for this project.

¡°Our goal is to let coal miners go to work in the morning and come home in the evening, enjoying the prosperous life you and I take for granted,¡± said Kuang. ¡°I think that whoever invests in us or partners with us should share this long term goal.¡±

Torrey Hills Technologies, LLC ( is a leader in developing and delivering quality yet affordable equipment and supplies for multiple industries. Since its establishment, the company has expanded its business from microelectronics packaging components to large-scale furnace equipment for semiconductor packaging, circuit board assembly, advanced materials processing and solar cell (silicon, thin film, and 3rd generation dye sensitized solar cells) manufacturing. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., the company now has customers located around the world in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.