Two Maine companies will be among the 250 displaying their advanced-technology wares at the country’s biggest showcase for the defense industry – the Defense Innovation Technology Showcase.

The showcase, scheduled for Dec. 1-3 in Austin, Texas, is an invitation-only event where participants are vetted by the top military and Defense Department brass and invited to pitch their companies’ technology and how it can make America more secure.

Making the cut is aizoON USA, a Lewiston company that developed software called “Aramis,” which senses everything happening on an IT network and raises an alarm about a threat faster than other anti-virus or firewall products, according to its creator, Rob Dolci.

“The advantage of Aramis is the ability to shorten the time between being attacked and realizing you are being attacked,” said Dolci, via email. “This is important because the other solutions on the market work on the principle of the anti-virus: First they need to learn the features of the malware, and then they can raise the alarm.”

That can take weeks, he said.

Aramis uses a set of algorithms that “sense” an abnormality in a given IT structure even before that abnormality is characterized. It reduces the time between infection, identification and eradication of a cyber threat.

Dolci anticipates the technology will enhance cybersecurity in multiple applications in the defense industry.

The other company, Fiber Materials Inc., makes high-temperature, carbon-reinforced composite materials in Biddeford. These materials are used in the construction of rocket motor assemblies and thermal protection for things such as nozzles on rocket cones.

In its application to the showcase, FMI touted the company’s readiness to ramp up production through rapid prototyping and fabrication.

Meghan McMahon, a spokeswoman for FMI, said the company has been a longtime defense supplier, but this will be the first time it shows at the technology innovation showcase.

New union shop

A former adviser to the AFL-CIO, Ben Waxman has embraced manufacturing in a new way. Last week, he launched American Roots, a company that makes Polartec fleece clothing and blankets in the Danforth Street space shared by his mother’s company, Old Port Wool and Textile Co. In a release, Waxman said the company will make customized fleece garments for corporations, institutions, unions and individuals out of Polartec fleece. It will be the only provider of union-made, American-made Polartec outerwear in the United States.

His business model calls for training immigrants and the disadvantaged to do the production work; some workers began a 12-week training program for their positions this summer. The company launched an Indiegogo campaign on Wednesday with a goal of raising $75,000. As of Monday, it exceeded $4,300.

Waxman said on the crowd-funding site that company founders already invested roughly $50,000 for initial startup costs. The factory is equipped with new machinery and raw materials for prototypes with the first 350 pieces to be completed in November. Silent partners have raised nearly $100,000.

“At American Roots, we want to create good jobs in the United States, deliver a quality product, have a commitment to our community, our workers and our country so that we can play a role in building a better, stronger and more sustainable future,” Waxman said in the release.

Lowering an energy bill by 40%

Maine Machine Products Co. in South Paris unveiled some energy-efficiency investments last week, among them an upgrade to the facility’s rooftop HVAC unit that is expected to help reduce energy use by 40 percent.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates 46 percent of all commercial buildings use packaged rooftop units to control heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other building systems. You know them – they are those clunky blocks that sit on top of buildings everywhere.

Most are old, inefficient and unmanageable. But Maine Machine, a precision manufacturing company that makes components for the aerospace, telecom, medical and semi-conductor industries, installed a retrofit called Catalyst. The upgrade modifies the existing rooftop unit so that its systems respond to the true needs of the building and not just what it has been programmed to do. So, for example, when you get an unseasonably warm day in late October, you’re not blasting heat inside the building. The retrofit also included wireless controls, so a building manager has access to all systems through a smartphone, computer or tablet.

“We think these types of emerging technologies could have a significant impact on collectively lowering energy costs for Maine industry and help reduce emissions,” said Dan Thayer, president of Thayer Corp., which retrofitted Maine Machine Products’ HVAC system.

Combined with some new LED lighting and motion-sensors, the company expects to save 40 percent – about $100,000 – annually with the upgrades. It also will save about 1 million kWh annually – about enough to power 100 homes, according to a release from the company.

Efficiency Maine, the state agency that helps homeowners and businesses with energy-efficiency projects, provided incentives that paid for 50 percent of the $267,000 project.

Maine Machine Products expects to recoup its investment in a little over a year, according to the company.

Business Editor Carol Coultas can be contacted at 791-6460 or at:

[email protected]

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