The CTMA Technology Competition is anything but a tank of sharks. Competitors have ten minutes to present their ideas and five minutes for questions from the judges. The pressure is on to sell the judges on their great technology and the potential for a substantial reward for the winner. It sounds familiar; it follows closely the Shark Tank format.
There is a dire need for technology innovations within the DoD maintenance and sustainment fields. That need isn’t just an Army or Air Force need; it spans all services and beyond. With a mission of collaborating with government and industry to try and fill those technology gaps, NCMS began the CTMA Technology Competition to create opportunities for industry and government to bring technology to the decision-makers in a fun and lively presentation.
Unlike the popular reality show, the CTMA Technology Competition brings together industry, government, and academia to review technologies that have already been validated, have a current commercial value, and the judges are all government decision-makers representing each of the services. While there may be a bit of friendly competition, the questions from the judges are of interest rather than gauntlet-like. Also, the technology is already proven in the commercial realm, so the emphasis is on how it can be modified to answer the needs of the military.
The DoD has seen some incredibly innovative new technologies through the CTMA Technology Competition and has been introduced to companies and their abilities that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. The technology adoption also has assisted U.S. companies to grow, adding to their workforce, their competitiveness globally, and the resources to enhance their research and development.
“CTMA has leveraged its partnerships to bring together government, academia, and industry to introduce innovations to the maintenance and sustainment community in an enthusiastic and unique event, building on our established platform of demonstration, validation, and evaluation that currently takes place,” says Debbie Lilu, CTMA Program Director at NCMS. “This event feeds the pipeline of demonstration projects being considered for adoption by the DoD.”
The 2018 CTMA Competition winner was MaglogixR with their phase-canceling multi-pole permanent magnets (MP magnets) to improve the safety and efficiency of manual work in maintenance settings. Maglogix incorporates multi-pole magnets into mounts, fixtures, and hand lifters that help technicians manipulate heavy tools, equipment, and material, (e.g., for mounting power drills and holding metal undergoing welding in place). These magnets are extremely strong and resilient, with a performance-to-weight ratio of over 400 pounds of hold force for every pound of magnet. These magnets are switchable and can be turned on and off without the need for a power source.
Mounts and fixtures incorporating multi-pole magnets are a useful alternative to human augmentation systems (e.g., powered exoskeletons) and mechanized assistance (e.g., overhead cranes and forklifts) for handling heavy loads. As the workforce ages and inexperienced new technicians enter the maintenance field, Maglogix’s offerings provide valuable tools for reducing injury while ensuring precise, high-quality work. Maglogix was one of six finalists, along with Wet Technologies, Inc.; Data Fusion & Neural Networks, LLC; and NCMS members Kinetic Research Corp.; Analatom; and Automated Precision, Inc. (API). The competition provides an excellent opportunity for companies to showcase cutting-edge maintenance-related technologies to an audience of military decision-makers and industry peers and has provided a springboard for past participants to build partnerships with the services.
Past winners were: Thermal Wave Imaging and Honeywell Sensing and Productivity Solutions.
The winner of the 2019 CTMA Technology Competition will receive $50,000 in funding and an opportunity to participate in a one-year technology demonstration/evaluation project.