Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D
WEAV3D Inc. will evaluate alternative heating technologies, such as induction and ultrasonic heating, that can be integrated into the WEAV3D continuous composite manufacturing process to improve production speed and reduce operating costs, enabling increased usage of composite materials in weight sensitive industries that require high-volume, low-cost structural components, including automotive, unmanned aircraft, wind turbines, and cargo transportation. The objective of this work is to identify a heating method that can reduce embodied energy by at least 40%, relative to the state-of-the-art infrared heating system.
“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”
“WEAV3D Inc. is honored to be award this NSF grant to advance our patent-pending continuous composite forming process, and make high-volume composite part production a reality. The automotive industry has struggled to adapt “aerospace-grade” composite forming technologies such as hand-layup, automated fiber placement, and resin transfer molding, leaving the industry unable to meet cost targets and production volumes. Chris Oberste, CEO of WEAV3D Inc., goes on to say “Our composite forming process has the potential to achieve a 10x reduction in composite forming cycle time and reduce composite part cost by up to 75% when compared to parts formed using traditional composite manufacturing processes.”
Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.
NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.
To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/
About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.