November 30, 1999 in SBIR/STTR News

Georgia SBIR Assistance in Action

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It is always good to see a plan execute as
. Over the last year, the
Georgia SBIR Assistance Program has been working with American MagLev Technologies
(AMT) in Marietta, Georgia. AMT was
just wrapping up a Phase I STTR with the Navy when we approached them offering
assistance. AMT had successfully
developed detailed conceptual models of a unique, passive eddy current brake
for catapults on Navy aircraft carriers during the Phase I effort. This braking system would completely replace
the current water-based braking technology and seamlessly fit into the existing
allocated brake spaces. GA SBIR came in
offering assistance in reviewing the Phase II proposal, providing additional
commercialization strategy materials, and providing an introduction to the
Georgia Tech Laboratory for Extreme Tribology for possible partnership. After several meetings, multiple iterations
on the proposal, and time for the Navy to review, AMT just announced that they are
under contract to continue this effort in a Phase II STTR with the Navy. The AMT-GT team will study the tribological
effects associated with the eddy brake, generating new computer models to
illustrate the friction, lubrication and wear issues associated with the
interacting surfaces.  Collectively, AMT,
Georgia Tech and CSA Engineering will perform a detailed peer review and an
array of subscale model validation tests, demonstrating the thermal and
mechanical environments of the brake during the launch and recoil strokes, as
well as assessing the overall reliability of the braking system over multiple
launches that are, and are not, within the given maximum end speed
scenarios. The Phase II effort will run
through the spring of 2010, at which time AMT expects to have successfully
completed all the relevant modeling and preparation for building a full-scale
prototype of its proprietary braking system for demonstration at the Navy’s
research facilities in Lakehurst, NJ.

Although not
yet a commercial success, this case is a model example of the types of projects
that GA SBIR seeks to support. The Navy
SBIR/STTR Program is committed to transitioning the successful technologies
from the program into operational systems. We are confident that AMT will be prepared for a Phase IIB, Phase II
Enhancement, or Commercialization Program at the conclusion of Phase II. Due to the success of the catapult eddy brake
Phase I project, they have also recently been awarded a Phase I from the Navy
to develop a magnetic tailhook concept. AMT
will create a preliminary design of a new tailhook that uses superconducting magnets,
which interact with the steel flight deck on a carrier to produce eddy currents.
The currents naturally drag the aircraft along the flight deck to bring it to a
halt in a shorter distance, thereby increasing the safety of landing aircraft.
By design, the magnetic tailhook will have fewer moving parts, resulting in a
greater cost savings with fewer maintenance expenses on board.

Georgia SBIR
Assistance will continue to work with AMT to review their product development
and launch strategies as they explore partnerships with aircraft carrier system
integration contractors. We will also
begin analyzing potential markets or applications for transition to civilian
markets. Congratulations to AMT! If
this is the kind of support that you are looking for and the kinds of success
that you expect from the SBIR program, please contact the GA SBIR Assistance Program.  If you
want to learn more about American Maglev Technologies, their Navy STTR
projects, or how we worked with them, visit, or contact
AMT at 770.428.8792.


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