Critical Materials S.A, current Stratosphere, was born in 2009 by two professors from University of Minho. Headquartered at Avepark – Science and Technology Park in Guimarães, Critical Materials is a company focused on the development of solutions and products in critical applications of materials systems and structures.
How do you present Critical Materials?
Critical Material S.A. is a company focused on developing solutions and products for monitoring the structural integrity of critical components and systems. A critical component life management platform titled PRODDIA ™ is available on the market and it is an innovative platform for monitoring structural integrity and critical asset management. The availability of this type of methodologies implies a consolidated knowledge in science and behavior of materials, electronics and instrumentation and information systems, which is guaranteed by a team of engineers with accumulated experience in the different areas mentioned.
Critical Materials’ mission is to provide technology and efficient products for diagnosis and prognosis of critical applications of advanced material systems. How do you carry out your mission?
Critical Materials S.A. intervenes mainly in markets where the requirement for structural performance is critical. The intervention in the aeronautical, aerospace and rail markets are some examples where Critical Materials S.A., normally, positions itself.
The intervention in the market is made through projects in a consortium of research and development or through services directly contracted by the end customer. It should be noted that, in addition to structural integrity monitoring projects, and because it has expertise in different areas of engineering, Critical Materials S.A. is involved in other highly technical projects.
In this context, we can highlight projects carried out with the European Space Agency (ESA), in particular for the development of a successful atmospheric re-entry capsule, and more recently the participation in another ESA project, which started in October, for the evaluation and numerical modeling of thermoelectric and thermomagnetic behavior of materials used in aerospace applications.
What is it like working for the development of materials for the defense sector? What projects has Critical Materials already developed for this sector?
Critical Materials S.A., in the field of defense applications, maintains a close partnership with the Portuguese Air Force. We recently completed the SHERLOC project (for monitoring the structural integrity of composite components of the EH101 helicopter) and, more recently, we have started another project with FAP for the extended life of the EPSILON TB30 fleet. It should be noted that defense projects are usually characterized by high technical requirements, multidisciplinarity and documentary and procedural rigor. However, these are the characteristics that make this market so attractive and with a great potential of application of the technologies and methods developed in context of civil application.
Critical Materials was distinguished as an example of investment by European Union. How did it feel to receive this recognition?
It is always good to see our work being recognized. This recognition of the European Union stems from the work developed over the last few years. With the Juncker Plan, we have been able to consolidate the company and stimulate its growth in terms of software and hardware and its expansion into new markets. Moreover, this recognition reveals that the strategic plan for the development of the company fits into the innovation and investment policies advocated by the European Union.
How important and valuable is the collaborative work between Critical Materials and Fibrenamics?
Critical Materials S.A. has participated in several actions promoted by Fibrenamics in which it intends to transmit its knowledge and experience in the areas where it traditionally intervenes. In an increasingly competitive industry where the innovation of procedures or products is mandatory for the success of companies, it is important to transmit new knowledge and techniques that awaken companies to new products and/or procedures or optimization of existing ones. In this context, the collaborative work between Critical Materials S.A. and Fibrenamics may be relevant because the complementarity of knowledge, which is demonstrated by the two organizations, has practical application in the business context and in the technological development of our industry.