The Mizzou Engineering-affiliated makers of the popular LEXO travel mug are back with a brand-new mug with improved cooling time, cleaner lid, a lifetime guarantee and a new name — and all made right here in the U.S. with U.S. and imported components.
ThermAvant International — founded by C.W. LaPierre Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Bill Ma — recently released another breakthrough product on the portable beverage market. Meet Burnout, the temperature-regulating travel mug guaranteed to quickly cool hot beverages such as coffee or tea to a drinkable zone of 140 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes and keep it there for hours — a quickness and longevity unmatched by competitors.
The key improvements for Burnout are faster cooling times, a new lid that limits residue buildup on the lip, and assembly of the mugs has moved from China to the U.S. But the biggest improvement is the lifetime guarantee and the individual serialization of each mug. which utilizes serial numbers unique to the mug to allow ThermAvant to track any burnout mug and provide the best service.
The name invokes exactly what the mug is intended to do — take the burn out of the user’s first sip. The Burnout mug utilizes Ma’s phase-change material (PCM) called HeatZorb, which is vacuum sealed between multiple layers of stainless steel. It is the same technology that is used in the LEXO further refined and perfected in the Burnout.
The material is charged at ThermAvant’s headquarters in Columbia, Mo., and is in a solid state in the mug. The heat of the beverage turns HeatZorb into a liquid, allowing it to absorb the extra heat and store it for release throughout the day, keeping the beverage warm for hours on end.
“We developed and refined the manufacturing system to charge the PCM and assemble Burnout in right here in Columbia, Mo.,” Ma said of ThermAvant International’s one-of-a-kind process. “With that technology, we charge our PCM. It took us about a year to develop the machine for the fabrication process.”
Michael Merwin, ThermAvant International Product Manager and MAE senior, has put his mechanical engineering skills to use on the assembly line, as well. He developed a system to take the process of laser etching and finishing the bottom cap containing the serial numbers from one-at-a-time to 24 in each go. The company employs several Mizzou Engineering alums and promotes growth in the local community by maintaining its headquarters in Columbia.
The next step for Burnout is customization of the laser etched art work and beverage temperature set point. Ma said that soon customers will be able to order customized mugs designed to your individual pallet allowing a hotter or cooler beverage set point while standard mugs with the preferred drinkable zone of 140 degrees Fahrenheit can meet the best taste requirement to the majority of customers.
“We have the ability to produce high-, standard- and low-temperature variants of Burnout,” he said. “If you like the higher (temperature) one, we can customize it. If you order one, say, for children, if they like the temperature of their hot cocoa lower, you can get a lower one. We will do our best to bring our DrinkNow technology to all customers for them to really enjoy their beverage.”