Sentient Science, a leading provider of materials-science based life prediction and extension technology, has announced a significant infusion of working capital to add new products to its Wind Turbine Operator Fleet. Toba Capital selected Sentient Science as its first investment in materials science-based prediction software. Sentient has initially focused the “DigitalClone” technology on “Roller Bearing” focused rotating equipment delivering computational testing and asset management.
This investment will support accelerated growth through added sales, marketing and product investments, along with international expansion. The financing supplements $25 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding that had previously been competitively won from the Departments of Defense and Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Sentient, which recently went to the White House to receive the nation’s highest technology honor, the Tibbetts Award, will also add Supplier & Logistics services to its rapidly growing fleet of rotating equipment assets. DigitalClone models reduce the cost of energy by 1 cent/kwh by providing three levels of asset and budget visibility: currently at six to 36 months and 20-year. DigitalClone is a fundamental innovation in the market, with physical accuracy, high visibility and a low cost, enabling efficient life extension operations and vendor comparisons for mechanical power and drivetrains, including bearings, gears, and lubrication additives.
“Sentient Science’s DigitalClone software has eliminated the costs and the lengthy process associated with the physical testing of materials, components, systems and fleets. How would your business be transformed if all of your decisions were tested in real time and virtually for free? The company’s team of material scientists, developers and market experts give operators and suppliers simulations of millions of scenarios that are tested 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, 365 days per year on every component of their rotating assets. Now, trillions of dollars in bearing-centric spending decisions can be made based on our life predictions, lowering the cost of sales and purchasing for our clients, while improving outcomes equal to 13% of revenues. That is a huge number,” said Ward Thomas, Chairman and CEO of Sentient Science. “We currently have more than 14,700 gearboxes under contract, and this financing accelerates that momentum.”
“Sentient Science pushes the envelope of software simulation far into what has been an expensive and wasteful hardware monopoly: testing by physically breaking,” said Vinny Smith, founder of Toba Capital. “Sentient’s material simulations replace hardware with no loss in accuracy. When they can do the same job, bits beat atoms every time — software is always more scalable and cost-effective than a machined alternative. We at Toba are thrilled to back Ward Thomas, the team of pioneering scientists lead by Dr. Nathan Bolander, and seasoned technology executives including Elias Tavarez and Ed Wagner. We expect to lend significant operational support and investment as Sentient becomes a dominant player in the industrial internet.”
Sentient initially deployed and validated its computational testing solutions with the world’s largest equipment operator, the Department of Defense, predicting the future behavior of the most complex machines (bearings, jet engines and gearboxes) on the Air Force F-35, the U.S. Army’s Apache and Black Hawk rotorcraft, and the Marine Corps’ Osprey programs with the world’s largest OEMs, including GE, Boeing, United Technologies, Textron and Exxon. Based on the success of those flight certification tests, the Department of Energy requested the use of Sentient’s computational testing solution for problematic wind turbine gearboxes, which were failing prematurely in deployment. Sentient turned its attention to the renewables market in late 2014, and in just 15 months, has captured contracts covering over 14,700 gearboxes in the United States, Mexico and Europe. With Toba’s investment, Sentient will expand its operations into more countries in Europe and China.
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