According to BCC Research, the global composites market is projected to reach $89 B by 2020 with a growth rate of 6.4% from 2015 to 2020. The portion of that market served by our technology are those with critical components made from composites. These include armor, automotive and aerospace sectors. Automotive and aerospace composites totaled $9.2 B in 2014 and are projected to grow at 8.5% projected through 2019. Within the defense market, composite material sales were $1.3B in 2014 with vehicle armor composites making up $644 million and composite body armor at $734 million in that year.
1) Custom Shaped Body Armor: Our process for layering Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) panels for the military armor market enables the development of 3D, custom shaped body armor for individual war fighters.
2) 3D layering of dissimilar composites: Consider a propeller blade that needs a combination of rigidity and impact resistance. Today’s manufacturing methods usually require two components to be made separately then bonded together, such as a graphite composite for rigidity and a Kevlar composite for impact resistance. Our technology allows for a single component to be made from varied composites serving multiple purposes (3D) at the point of fabrication. Our process to do this eliminates several common steps in manufacturing while resulting in acomponent than will be stronger, lighter and better performing than currently possible.
3) Remote fabrication of 3D composites in space or at sea is a natural extension of our technology. In the same way that 3D printing is utilized today in the international space station and at sea, rather than storing final composites, material can be stored and composites can be formed as needed using our ultrasonic composite layering process.
4) Embedded technologies like sensors, active elements and fluid transfer are also applicable. Our technology enables embedded technologies between composite layers. For example, sensors can be embedded between composite layers at the point of fabrication to notify a pilot when a wing component is overloaded or approaching failure. Piezo electric elements can be integrated so that structure can be activated on demand. Tubing can be integrated so that fluids can be actively transferred such that weight can be transferred in a wing component to enhance turn capabilities.
5) Replacement technology: Common manufacturing processes including autoclave, bake and press can be reduced or eliminated. Our ultrasonic process achieves much of the desired effect of these standard practices at the point of fabrication. At the same time our process exceeds current best practices for eliminating air pockets between composite layers thereby reducing or eliminating the need for autoclave, bake and press across several critical component markets.
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