CompositesMaterialsMoney & Funding

Continuous Composites receives $750k in funding from the Air Force

As part of Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) to make new aircraft wings

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Continuous Composites has been awarded a Phase II SBIR contract to demonstrate their patented Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D) manufacturing process for a DoD multifunctional structural composite application through collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The SBIR topic focuses on Attritable Structures, Engines, and Sensors of Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems and Space Systems.

“We are honored to receive this Phase II SBIR Contract directly through the Department of Defense,” said Tyler Alvarado, CEO of Continuous Composites. “The AFRL is a long-standing customer who recognized early the disruptive capabilities of CF3D. Through this contract and others, we are committed to transforming DoD Operational Capabilities.”

Accelerating change while increasing complexity, unpredictability, and mass, a primary objective of the United States Air Force Science and Technology Strategy, is hampered by aerospace composite manufacturing techniques that require significant manufacturing time by a skilled workforce. Continuous Composites’ CF3D technology is an automated manufacturing solution that significantly reduces cost, weight, and lead-time while opening new capabilities for complex structural solutions. Its unique capabilities to introduce low-cost, topology optimized structures directly align with Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology/Platform (LCAAT/P) initiatives.

The latest and most detailed information about the state of the art of composites additive manufacturing technologies is available in 3dpbm’s recently released AM Focus 2021 Composites eBook and in 3dpbm Research’s in-depth report and 10 -year forecast on Composites Additive Manufacturing Opportunities and Trends.

“A Direct to Phase II program provides us the opportunity to collaborate with this innovative team and their disruptive manufacturing technology to further develop CF3D’s capabilities for mission readiness,” said Craig Neslen – AFRL/RXMS LCAAT Manufacturing Lead. “We are committed to evaluating and maturing Continuous Composites’ technology for advanced aerostructures which will enable us to meet the challenging manufacturing demands of the DoD.”

The primary technical objectives of this contract are to fabricate an organically integrated wing spar and rib configuration into a single component, resulting in a completely unitized wing frame. The design for the topology optimized wing structure will be generated using a disruptive AI software solution, Generative Design, in collaboration with the Advanced Structural Concepts division in the Aerospace Systems Directorate of AFRL. Design inputs include CF3D’s print capabilities combined with the mechanical properties of high-performance thermoset resins and continuous carbon fiber. The CF3D printed, unitized frame will be assembled with composite wing skins resulting in a full-scale wing structure for an unmanned aircraft. A static wing test will be performed by AFRL to evaluate performance and Continuous Composites will document process data that will be compared to more traditional fabrication and assembly processes.

The contract will leverage CF3D as an automated commercial process providing a responsive solution to unpredictable manufacturing surge requirements within the DoD. This demonstration will showcase the emerging capabilities of CF3D by reimagining aerostructures while using a low-cost, fully automated manufacturing technology to print a monolithic composite component. This application demonstrates CF3D with its advanced material solutions developed in collaboration with their materials partner Arkema.

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746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...

Victor Anusci

Victor does not really exist. He is a pseudonym for several writers in the 3D Printing Media Network team. As a pseudonym, Victor has also had a fascinating made-up life story, living as a digital (and virtual) nomad to cover the global AM industry. He has always worked extra-hard whenever he was needed to create unique content. However, lately, as our editorial team has grown, he is mostly taking care of publishing press releases.

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