Smart clamp and electrical health/usage monitoring system revolutionize electrical systems maintenance
A veteran turns pain into innovation
Dariyan Rhysing joined the U.S. Army to serve his country and pursue his love of aviation and electronics. After fourteen years of manual labor as a trained aircraft electrician, Dariyan developed severe carpal tunnel syndrome. The weakness in his hands made it impossible to keep working on electrical systems, so he departed the military under honorable discharge.
With the help of his wife, business development expert Evaguel Rhysing, Dariyan pursued a career in engineering to create a solution. He created a smart, easy-to-install wiring clamp, the Smart Interconnecting Clamp (SICC), to replace the inefficient wiring clamps that had contributed to his injuries. Armed with a product that could radically improve electrical management and the jobs of electricians, Dariyan and Evaguel launched United Aircraft Technologies (UAT) in 2018.
“Pain is the mother of innovation,” Evaguel said. “People avoid electrical wire maintenance and management because of its complexity. With the SICC’s sensing capabilities and ease of use, our vision is to make wires the thing you want to check first.”
Historically, aircraft electricians have diagnosed wiring issues visually and manually, using a multimeter. UAT’s product is the first to diagnose electrical faults wirelessly and continuously. UAT offers software, the Augmented Reality Monitoring System (ARMS), to let electricians assess wiring without having to touch it – or even be in the same building. Plus, plastic SICCs weigh about one-fifth of a conventional clamp, lowering aircraft’s weight and saving fuel.
Leveraging the ecosystem
As the Rhysings were looking for resources, they met FORGE’s manufacturing expert-in-residence (MEIR) Scott Longley at an entrepreneurship bootcamp for disabled veterans. Scott learned that UAT was seeking a manufacturer for their prototype . He mentioned UAT to Sinicon Plastics, a custom injection molder headquartered in Dalton, MA. UAT partnered with Sinicon Plastics as part of its participation in a 2019 Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, to show that it already had a relationship with a supplier and could get to market quickly.
“Sinicon made a mold for the brackets. They’ve been an instrumental partner for us since,” Evaguel said. Sinicon even uses the SICC to clamp one of its facilities’ wiring, helping UAT test the technology’s sensing abilities.
Upstate NY-based UAT’s ties to Western MA grew quickly. The Alchemy Fund, an early-stage Western-MA-based venture capital fund, invested in UAT. In 2020, UAT accepted a $300,000 incentive package from Pittsfield, MA to move their headquarters to the city. The move brought UAT just 5 miles away from Sinicon.
David Allen, Sinicon’s president, said “Being so close made it easy. They came in person to work with the designer, watch the parts being molded, and make decisions on the fly.”
“If you’re in Pittsfield, you know everybody,” Evaguel said. “COVID was dangerous for a small aerospace business, but the connections we’ve made in the area helped us sustain the company.”
By 2021, UAT was thriving. Evaguel was looking for a program that supported growth-stage startups. The Western MA Founders Network, a peer and mentor network for high-growth startups in Western MA that FORGE helped to create and execute in collaboration with regional partners, selected UAT to be a member of its first cohort Sinicon was a joint sponsor of FORGE with its representative Plastics Manufacturing Resources (PMR).
UAT has validated its ICC and ARMS systems in aircraft and is doing pilot studies in ground vehicles and buildings.
“We’re in an age of electrification,” Evaguel said. “We’re electrifying everything – cars, trucks, aircraft. There are going to be higher safety and monitoring requirements for electrical systems, and we’re going to be there to make it easy to diagnose and prevent safety issues.”
Given the recent media focus on the danger of electrical vehicle fires, UAT is pushing to get into electric cars, vans, and trucks. In the future, the founders hope to support the power grid as well.
Evaguel said, “We’re so reliant on electricity, but we often don’t think about how to maintain electrical systems until it’s too late. At UAT, we want people to realize how important that is and how easy it can be with our system.”
By the Numbers
- UAT has secured more than $2 million in military contracts
- Three U.S. patents protect the company, plus patents in Canada, Europe, and Brazil
- UAT is currently running three pilots in ground fleet systems
- UAT won the MassEcon Economic Impact Award-Bronze for its effect on the region
- UAT has won two NASA iTech Innovation Challenges