NCMS Announces Overall and People’s Choice Winners for 2021 CTMA Technology Competition

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) announced both winners of the 2021 CTMA Technology Competition at the Finalists Presentation event on December 8, which was broadcast live over the web. The Overall Award winner is Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Lab (ARL), for a “Multifunctional Automated Repair System (MARS)” and the People’s Choice Award winner is Everactive, Inc., for a “Batteryless Remote Monitoring for the IIoT.” The contest is NCMS’s annual event that highlights innovations in maintenance and sustainment technologies. The winners were selected from a record 96 entries received this year.

“This competition raises awareness in the maintenance community about the technologies that are out there,” says Debbie Lilu, Vice President Maintenance & Sustainment, Business Development at NCMS. “We engage our senior maintenance leaders to select the winner.”

During this free virtual event, each of the six finalists made short presentations about their technology solution, followed by a 5-minute Q&A from the judges. After the presentations, while judges determined the Overall award winner, all other event attendees voted on the People’s Choice award winner. Both winners were announced at the conclusion of the event.

The Overall winner, Penn State ARL, designed MARS for use in emergent facilities, including forward operating bases, ships, and shipyards. This turn-key system enables use of a key collection of repair processes and is easily transportable for in-situ repairs. Through its innovative design, it is quickly reconfigurable, connects with different robots, and has a user-friendly interface, control system, and set of tutorials for each operation. The MARS suite of end effectors—or tools that have been developed and demonstrated—currently include a grinder and plasmablast for surface preparation, cold spray and laser wire deposition for repair/restoration of metal, and ultrasonic and eddy current non-destructive evaluation for inspection. Additional functionality, including LIDAR, thermal imaging, gas sensing, laser ablation, welding, laser deposition, paint touch-up, and x-ray fluorescence, are in development.

“MARS fills an urgent need for forward maintenance,” says Dr. Tim Eden, Head of the Material Science Division Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. “The technology provides benefits for future automation across Navy and DOD maintenance via end effectors, programming, fielding, and training. MARS is easily scalable to address a wide range of sustainment and repair processes. It removes the operator from hazardous environments and greatly reduces repetitive tasks. The technology can also be applied to a number of industrial operations. We are excited to place this technology in the hands of next-generation sailors, soldiers, and support contractors to develop new skills.”

Everactive, Inc., was selected as the People’s Choice Award winner by attendees at the live web event. Everactive’s winning entry, “Everactive Batteryless Remote Monitoring for the IIoT,” is a batteryless sensor that uses custom chip technology to deliver complete and always-on Industrial Internet of Things devices. These sensors use tiny amounts of harvested energy, eliminating the need for batteries while continuously monitoring industrial assets. Everactive has two commercially available solutions: one for monitoring steam traps and a second for monitoring the health of rotating machinery (motors, pumps, compressors, fans, etc). Data collection is sent via Gateways to the AWS cloud for analysis. Users access data in the cloud from any web-browser and receive near real-time notifications and alerts of anomalous conditions.

Selecting the Overall Award winner was a panel of judges who serve as principals for the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG), a collaborative group formed by the DOD to improve coordination in the introduction of new or improved technology, new processes, or new equipment into DOD depot maintenance activities. The same group gathered earlier to review all 96 entries and select the competition’s six finalists, who earned their recognition for excellence in maintenance relevance or impact, originality and contribution to state-of-the-art solutions, technical maturity, cross-service applicability, and feasibility/practicality.

Each award winner will receive a personalized award, and each will be provided $50,000 in project support funding to enable them to take part in a selected Department of Defense demonstration activity.

For more details about the CTMA Technology Competition, including an electronic booklet that showcases all 96 entries, see: