Ann Arbor, MI, July 25, 2022— NCMS member Atmospheric Plasma Solutions (APS) has been awarded funding for their PlasmaBlast® precision surface preparation system from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) via a pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT).
APFIT aims to expeditiously transition technologies—with priority given to those developed by small businesses and/or nontraditional defense contractors—from pilot programs, prototype projects, and research projects into production.
The PlasmaBlast® system, winner of NCMS’s 2019 CTMA Technology Competition, is a precision surface preparation system that can remove coatings, clean surfaces, and promote adhesion.
“We are thrilled that APS received funding for the PlasmaBlast® system,” said Debbie Lilu, NCMS’s Vice President, Maintenance & Sustainment, and Business Development. “Every year, nearly 100 NCMS industry partners submit innovative technologies to our technology competition. The fact that the PlasmaBlast® system won the 2019 competition speaks to the great value of this technology.”
Glenn Astolfi, President of Atmospheric Plasma Solutions, said, “Being a member of NCMS and working closely with the CTMA program has been invaluable. At CTMA events, we were able to demonstrate the system to hundreds of maintainers, who brought it to their command’s attention and showed that it fills a very important need. The CTMA Program gave us access and visibility we otherwise may not have had.”
The PlasmaBlast® system improves small-scale coating removal operations required for shipbuilding and naval maintenance. With legacy technologies—such as grinders, needle-guns, and hand tools—coating removal is time-consuming, poses potential hazards to maintainers’ health, and can damage the substrate. The PlasmaBlast® 7000-M system accelerates small-scale coating removal operations without these negative effects.
The field-deployable, portable unit, PlasmaBlast®, requires only compressed air and electricity to remove coatings, clean surfaces, and promote adhesion. It operates by generating a “cold” plasma beam to vaporize paints, sealants, and epoxies. The process converts a significant portion of the removed organic coating into water vapor and carbon dioxide, leaving a small volume of solids that can be safely collected with a vacuum. Testing coordinated by NAVSEA 05 documented that this method does not cause changes to the substrate metallurgy.
PlasmaBlast® complements, or replaces, abrasive blasting, laser, or water-jetting methods and has been proven to work above and below water. This system has been used effectively across a wide range of substrates, coating types, and removal conditions. Chemical-free, it is safer for maintainers, environmentally friendly, requires minimal containment/clean-up, and can significantly reduce job costs.
The funding Atmospheric Plasma Solutions will receive from the APFIT Program will help to deliver enhanced capabilities to the DOD while propelling APS across the “Valley of Death,” which refers to innovations failing to transition into products due to financial, technical, doctrinal, or organizational issues.
“We are both proud and excited to be selected by the APFIT Program,” said Astolfi. “This award will help our company bridge the ‘Valley of Death’ and transition the PlasmaBlast® system into the hands of warfighters. The technology is an innovation that will save time for ship construction and maintenance to enhance the readiness and sustainment of our military.”
For more information about the APFIT Program, please visit: https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3098211/dod-announces-first-set-of-projects-to-receive-funding-from-the-pilot-program-t/
About Atmospheric Plasma Solutions
Atmospheric Plasma Solutions provides innovative atmospheric plasma solutions for a broad range of emerging applications in defense and commercial markets. APS has perfected the delivery of plasma at atmospheric pressures using only compressed air and electricity. The company’s systems are used by the US Navy, US Army, pharmaceutical manufacturers, Fortune 100 firms, and more. Additionally, APS conducts advanced atmospheric plasma research in partnership with private companies, federal agencies, and leading research universities. Learn more at https://apsplasma.com/ and at APS’s LinkedIn.
NCMS is a cross-industry technology development consortium dedicated to improving the competitiveness and strength of the US industrial base for 36 years. NCMS leverages a network of industry, government, and university partners to develop, demonstrate, and transition innovative technologies efficiently, with less risk and lower cost. NCMS enables world-class companies to work effectively with other members on new opportunities—matching highly capable companies with the providers and end users who need their innovations and technology solutions. The NCMS network benefits from an accelerated progression of idea creation through execution. Learn more at www.ncms.org, at NCMS’s LinkedIn, and at @ncmsmfg.
Pam Hurt, NCMS Vice President for Business Capture, Communications and Partnership