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Spotlight: Eric Walton, PhD, Chief Scientist

Eric has always been fascinated with antennas and radio communication. Inspired by the space program in high school, he became a radio amateur who built his own transmitters, receivers and antennas. He even used Morse code to communicate around the world.

Eric’s work was instrumental to the development of SmartMelter® technology. He helped perform the initial research and helped develop the techniques that finally proved successful in measuring full temperature refractory thickness in actual working glass furnaces.

“The development of the SmartMelter® solution as a successful commercial product was a truly amazing experience. Working with Alex Ruege, Yakup Bayram, and the team at PaneraTech has been an incredible and delightful opportunity. I am proud to be a part of this fundamental research and see it transform into industry-changing commercial products.”

Background and Education

Eric studied Electrical Engineering (antenna theory) at the University of Delaware. He was offered a position as an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Illinois, where he received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with emphasis on ionospheric radio propagation.  During this time, he performed research in ionospheric radio propagation and ionospheric physics.

Eric went on to serve as a Research Scientist at The Ohio State University for 36 years, working in advanced radar scattering and analysis research. He has received national recognition for his pioneering work. Yakup Bayram, founder and CEO of PaneraTech, was a Senior Research Engineer at The Ohio State University when the two met. Together, they became interested in measuring the thickness of refractory materials using radar.

Primary Role at PaneraTech

Eric worked with Yakup Bayram in the initial startup phase of  SmartMelter® technology. He remembers, “The first experiments in the lab made it look easy. The true difficulty came when we heated it to molten glass temperatures where the material became much less transparent to radio waves.  At times, we thought it might be impossible!  It took years of follow-up research at PaneraTech to develop successful techniques to measure refractory thickness in actual furnace environments.”

Working at PaneraTech

Eric has retired from full time research, and serves as a consultant for PaneraTech in the area of advanced radar signal processing.  He finds it personally rewarding to see new signal processing techniques become part of a commercially successful product.