Betatronix LLC: Small Parts with Huge Possibilities

Betatronix LLC (Betatronix) designs and manufactures customized precision potentiometers, which have a variety of uses. Potentiometers, commonly referred to as “pots,” are used in industrial measuring instruments, controlling industrial process variables, self-balancing instruments and electronic resistors.

Located in Hauppauge, N.Y., Betatronix ships its products across the United States. But the company’s products are used throughout the world and even in outer space. Jim Hart, the company’s vice president of business development, explains, “The company was founded in 1966, but new venture capitalists took it over in 2007.”

Now Betatronix’s product lines of wirewound, film and conductive plastic potentiometers are some of the most technically capable in the United States.

Beating the Odds

“We have been doing a lot of revamping and buying new capital and machines … New equipment is one of our biggest expenses. Through this practice, we plan on continuous expansion,” Hart says.

To balance out internal expenses, Betatronix began “outsourcing the easier components to make. We have A, B and C lists of vendors,” Hart says. Working with these vendors makes production easier, more efficient and less costly for the company’s 80 employees. Design and production of the company’s potentiometers, however, occurs in Betatronix’s 10,000-square foot building. In this facility Betatronix can make potentiometers customized to fit each customer’s specific needs. Betatronix is known for its “exotic” or innovative potentiometer uses.

The company prides itself on its ability to do what its competitors call impossible. Its products are more accurate, are available in smaller sizes, work under intense environments, come in specialized packaging and have longer lives. For these reasons Betatronix is the most preferred designer and manufacturer of its kind in the country. Betatronix’s products are mostly molded conductive plastic potentiometers. However, the company also manufactures wirewound potentiometers for customers who require this almost obsolete product. All of the company’s potentiometers include Betatronix’s distinctive proprietary resistance element that produces hi-rel products with long life spans, reduced noise and almost non-existent degradation.

The company’s product types include single- and multi-turn, linear and non-linear, rotary and translatory, element/wiper assemblies, arc segment potentiometers, pendulum potentiometers, motor-pot assemblies, switch-pot assemblies, gearhead-pot assemblies, spring returns, detents, high-strength stops and controlled-torque mechanisms. This range of products offers many uses, but Betatronix’s customers are usually in the aerospace and missile, outer space, and robotics and animatronics business markets.

Diverse Product Lines

Approximately 75 percent of Betatronix’s total sales come from the military sector. In this sector Betatronix works with most of the large aerospace manufacturers in the country.

Over the past two decades, Betatronix’s potentiometers could be found on just about every major missile that was successfully guided toward its target. Some well-known missile projects that Betatronix participated in include HARMS, Paveway and Tomahawk missiles during the Desert Storm conflict. Looking back over the history of its missile projects, other successes include Stinger, Harpoon, Hellfire, JDAM, JSOW and ASRAAM. In the aerospace arena, Betatronix’s potentiometers are used in the F14, F15, F16, F18, F22 and C130 and C17 programs.

After 10 years of growing its reputation for top-notch potentiometers in the military sector, Betatronix was presented with a further opportunity: The company began using its standard mil-spec type pots for outer space projects. However, clients would have to vacuum screen test each potentiometer to see if it qualified. The ones that did not had to be discarded. Through this experience, Betatronix designed space-specific potentiometers that are always reliable in hard vacuum space environments. Now such products are used by satellite manufacturers.

Other products include precision potentiometers made for the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and military surveillance satellites. Betatronix’s products have been true innovations in the robotic and animatronics fields. Through its creation of both linear motion and rotary potentiometers that have the high performance levels required in military products, the company has made these fields more accessible and has made possible a broader range of motions. However, these types of potentiometers also need to be more rugged and able to work in non-lab environments.

Understanding these needs, Betatronix has developed a new product line that can be installed by typical servicemen instead of highly trained professionals in a controlled environment. Through the new designs, animators have greater flexibility for more life-like animals, and robots have wider ranges of motion to complete more types of work.

Some of Betatronix’s most recognizable work in this field can be seen in the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and Universal Studio’s E.T. Its products are also used on NASA space platforms and as robotic gas pump attendants. Betatronix is at the cutting edge of technology in several fields. Through its customization and precision, Betatronix has helped make performance-imperative military components, parts used in outer space, animatronic creations and robotic capabilities all be made possible and effective.