February 20, 2009 | last updated November 30, 2011 1:41 pm

UMaine R&D spins off composite co.

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From Ralph

Amazing, exciting and encouraging that we can
bring on new technologies in engineering, besides communication.

A University of Maine composite technology used in bridge construction has spawned a new private company in Orono that could employ more than 100 people in five years.

Advanced Infrastructure Technologies was introduced this morning at a press conference this morning in Orono attended by political heavyweights. The company was formed by Brit Svoboda, a Bangor native who recently returned to the state, according to Joe Carr from the University of Maine.

AIT will attempt to commercialize the composite bridge construction technology, called "bridge in a backpack," developed at UMaine's AEWC Advanced Structures & Composites Center. The technology involves hollow composite tubes that can be shipped in a bag to any construction site, inflated at the site, bent to any shape to fit the geometry of the site and infused with a resin to become rigid overnight. The composite arches are then filled with concrete and are said to be more durable than traditionally built concrete arches. These bridges can be built quickly, reducing shipping and labor costs, according to Carr. UMaine and the Maine Department of Transportation recently constructed the first bridge in a backpack in Pittsfield.

In its first year, the company expects to construct as many as six bridges in Maine, working with the Maine DOT and local contractors and engineering firms. After an initial incubation of five years, the company says it could employ more than 100 people, including engineers, technicians, manufacturing and sales and marketing personnel.


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