A New Mexico technology firm owned by New Mexico State University alum Bob Sachs 82 84 is helping to save American soldiers lives in Afghanistan.
TEAM Technologies Inc. in Albuquerque manufactures the Stingray Disrupter that uses a high-velocity jet of water to destroy improvised explosive devices planted by insurgents.
Once an IED is located, such as underground, or in a tank, pressure cooker or propane tank, the military explosive ordinance disposal team takes the hand-held device, sets it next to the tank or on the ground above the IED, Sachs says. With a high-velocity jet of water, it will take out the IED without it exploding. It will disrupt it, and blow open the container so a forensic team can approach the IED safely.
The fluid-blade disablement tool was among Time Magazines 50 Best Inventions of 2010.
Sandia National Laboratories developed the concept. TEAM Technologies was among seven companies that showed interest in licensing the technology, and was the company awarded the license to manufacture and sell the device. The company has made more than 7,000 Stingrays for military use.
Water is actually a very hard substance, says Sachs, who obtained dual bachelors degrees in business administration in 1982 and mechanical engineering technology in 1984. Water cutting machines will cut through marble and other materials. Using the same concept, the Stingray uses shape technology to create a cohesive fluid blade capable of easily penetrating steel.
TEAM Technologies is an advanced engineering and electronics manufacturing company located in the Sandia Science and Technology Park in Albuquerque. The company has a diversified customer base serving aerospace, defense, energy, national laboratories, and industrial automation, medical and industrial commercial clients.
The company has received several awards and recognitions for its work, including the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agencys Minority Technology Firm of the Year in 2007.
It has been a recipient of the New Mexico Flying 40 Award for 11 consecutive years, since 2001. This award annually recognizes the 40 fastest-growing technology companies headquartered in New Mexico.
Sachs comes by his business and engineering sense naturally. The Belen native worked in his familys appliance store at a young age repairing washing machines. While in college he continued working as a repairman at Easy TV and Appliance in Las Cruces.
After classes, in the afternoon, Id make service calls in the Mesilla Valley and repair washers, dryers, refrigerators and microwaves, he says.
Because he enjoyed the mechanical aspect of fixing things, Sachs eventually combined business and engineering as a degree path.
I was half-way through business school when I realized I really wanted to be in engineering because I liked the technical part of it, he says. So I stayed at NMSU and completed a dual degree.
The two degrees Bachelors of Business Administration and Bachelors of Science have combined nicely for Sachs as his career path took him to Tuscan, Ariz., and then on to Los Angeles while working 13 years for Hughes Aircrafts missile division.
The desire to return to New Mexico brought him back to the Land of Enchantment where he worked for a smaller company, Fiore Industries, as the director of engineering.
I had the opportunity to stay with Hughes, but I went with the smaller business because I had grown up in small business and I wanted to get back into it, he says.
The dream to own his own business remained with Sachs through the years. He shared his desire with four fellow Aggies in what they called the Velocity Group. Joining Sachs were his brother, Danny Sachs, who was his partner when they bought TEAM; Andrew Baca, now president and CEO of Abba Technologies; and Pat Romo, a commercial banker in Albuquerque.
Wed get together once a month and talk about business trends. We were all working for other corporations but we all knew we wanted to own a business and were looking at buying a business together, he says. Then in 2001 the opportunity came up for us to buy TEAM Specialty Products, which Danny and I did. Andrew eventually had the opportunity to buy Abba.
The Sachs brothers changed their business name to TEAM Technologies to reflect is unique one-stop services.
We can do everything under one roof, Sachs says. We can go from developing the proto type to manufacturing the final product.
TEAMs main building, with more than 36,000 square feet of floor space, houses a state of the art machine shop; an electronics manufacturing facility; electrical, mechanical and controls engineering labs; a metrology and inspection facility; and administrative office space.
The company has a second facility, which is home to a high voltage research laboratory as well as rapid prototyping capabilities and general lab space. With more than 7,000 square feet of space, this facility offers the necessary lab space needed to effectively conduct research and development.
For the former washing machine repairman, the fun aspect of his work is product development.
Its great to take a concept or idea that someone has, or a specification document that may only have verbal descriptions, and create a product that works, he said. We turn the customers idea into a real product. And what really makes me happy is when I see that product coming off of an assembly line.
Because of its expertise, TEAM Technologies has helped Sandia National Laboratories with Z-Pinch Fusion Research Program where TEAM provides diagnostic design, manufacturing support and target hardware.
Also in response to a mission critical request by the Z-Pinch program, TEAM developed an ultra precision industrial indexer to meet the increasingly rigorous anode to cathode wire distribution requirement.
TEAM was also awarded a proposal by the NASA White Sands Test Facility to design and implement a real-time propulsion control system. The main goal of the project was to build a measurement and control system based on flexible, powerful, scalable, easy to expend and well supported instrumentation and software with a real time interface to support existing White Sands Test Facility supplied application program.
This system has proven its merit in tests of space shuttle components, including the improved auxiliary power unit, orbital maneuvering subsystem, aft reaction control subsystem and a myriad of reaction control thrusters.
Because of the success with these projects, TEAM Technologies has received awards from Sandia Labs, including the ORO Award for several years. TEAM was one of 15 suppliers to receive the award, which recognizes 100 percent quality and delivery performance.
The firm also received the U.S. Small Business Administrations 50th Anniversary Economic Growth Tour District Directors Choice Award in recognition of the small business communitys contribution to the American economy and society.