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3D Printing Certification

Nextflex gains $154m in AFRL funding for 3D printing flexible hybrid electronics 


Nextflex, a U.S. consortium of organizations focused to advancing Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) in the 3D printing certification marketplace, has entered into a value-sharing arrangement with the Air Force Analysis Laboratory (AFRL). 

The deal will see the U.S. Section of Defense (DoD) supply up to $154m worth of expenditure above the subsequent 7 many years, in order to fund the improvement of 3D printed electronics that can support armed forces functions and defense manufacturing.

“We are excited to keep on our partnership with NextFlex and its associates,” reported Dr. Richard Vaia, Main Scientist for the Resources and Manufacturing Directorate at AFRL. “The Adaptable Hybrid Digital manufacturing ecosystem did not exist five years ago. Currently these technologies are not only furnishing ingredient remedies to our current platforms, but are revolutionizing our design and style principles for long term transformation capabilities for 2030.”

The AFRL has committed up to $154m towards the development of FHE 3D printed electronics. Photo via AFRL.
The AFRL has committed up to $154m in direction of the growth of FHE 3D printed electronics. Photograph by using AFRL.

Nextflex’s mission to progress FHE 

Nextflex was shaped in August 2015 through a cooperative arrangement between the DoD and FlexTech Alliance. The coalition contains organizations, tutorial establishments, non-financial gain and condition businesses, with a shared target of advancing the U.S. Producing of FHE. Nextflex’s investigation has concentrated on devising a new course of light-weight, small expense, stretchable, FHE gadgets for the professional medical, robotics and interaction markets. By adding electronics to new supplies and generating conformable solutions, the corporation aims to reach a point out of “electronics on everything” i.e. it aims to apply FHE to all facets of day-to-day existence. 

Obtaining received $75m of original funding from the AFRL in 2015, the firm has since re-dispersed this financial investment to its customers, for them to function on unique projects that advance FHE engineering. For occasion in June 2017, Albuquerque-based 3D printing certification corporation Optomec was awarded $3m for a project that saw the corporation supply Aerosol Jet 5x 3D printers to the NextFlex Technologies Hubs in San Jose, California and in New York.

This financial investment was adopted by aid for the armed service contractor Lockheed Martin in July 2018, which was a person of 7 providers that obtained a portion of a $12m income injection by Nextflex. For Lockheed, the funding was awarded to compile a databases of additively printed antennas and microwave aspects, and create epidermal sensors for robotic exoskeleton knee manage, to support wounded soldiers. 

Since then, the institute has been ramping up its economical support for FHE tasks, providing a even more $11m of investment to study plans in August 2018, and making a get in touch with for proposals to fund projects in June 2019. Adhering to one more $11.5m of funding awarded to 12 new projects in Could 2020, the team has invested a full of much more than $100m in advancing FHE 3D printing certification technologies. AFRL has now pledged an more $154m to the Nextflex, so the group can continue on to work toward its “electronics on everything” goals. 

“Over the final 5 decades, the DoD and government partnership with NextFlex and its members, demonstrated numerous versatile hybrid electronics-primarily based prototypes for modernization priorities,” stated Dr. Eric Forsythe, the NextFlex Governing administration Plan Supervisor and ERP SAMM Hybrid Thrust Lead at the US Army Beat Capabilities Enhancement Command’s Army Investigation Laboratory. 

”We are thrilled to support the OSD ManTech Place of work in the execution of the 2nd AFRL cooperative agreement. Many new methods will be implemented in the second settlement, supporting emerging nationwide state-of-the-art manufacturing problems and DoD priorities.”

Nextflex awarded funding to Lockheed Martin in 2018 for developing FHE technology to help injured soldiers. Photo via Nextflex.
Nextflex awarded funding to defence contractor Lockheed Martin in 2018 for developing FHE technology to aid hurt soldiers. Picture by way of Nextflex.

The AFRL’s $154m investment 

Nextflex’s settlement with the AFRL consists of funding from the Business office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Manufacturing Technology Program. The enterprise will use the added expenditure to assistance its ongoing mission to push electronics innovation for producing and armed service purposes, and OSD research & engineering modernization. 

The FHE projects will reportedly involve the conformal 3D printing certification of functional dielectric and conductor products on complicated 3D surfaces, and the growth of a databases about 3D printed antennas and microwave factors. In addition, Nextflex will create new FHE improvements, concentrating especially on DoD technologies transitions that will do the job to increase navy abilities.

As component of the deal, the company’s new purpose will be to update and increase its FHE engineering roadmap, and get the job done with government organizations to execute established plans. Nextflex will also use the funding to acquire a far more robust FHE ecosystem in the U.S, by growing many of the consortium’s combined FHE initiatives.

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