NASA has selected 17 U.S. companies for partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond through the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s 2020 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.
CRG will evaluate a 3-D printing method that makes use of slurry-based thermoset resins to fabricate thermal protective systems. CRG will partner with NASA centers to test and evaluate the material’s performance in flight-relevant environments, utilizing NASA facilities and experts at Johnson and Ames.
Other companies involved in these space technologies include Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
The Dayton Business Journal posted an article about CRG’s zoning approval to commence a battery manufacturing process at its new facility at 8821 Washington Church Road. CRG acquired the property in January, 2020, and it added 126,000 square feet of manufacturing or production space, 36,000 square feet of warehouse space and 12,000 square feet of office space.
“The [zoning] decision will enable CRG to outfit a 2,000-square-foot space inside the building to develop batteries for the Department of Defense that are approximately the size and thickness of a credit card,” said Jeffrey Bennett, CRG’s Vice President of Operations. “Five to eight of them will be put together in a pack, so it will be about the size of a deck of cards. It is then incorporated into body armor for troops on the ground.”
Upon completion and renovation, the new facility will be CRG’s third location in the Dayton region.
CRG announced today the formal launch of its Venture Studio. The CRG Venture Studio will be in charge of identifying and prioritizing commercial opportunities coming out of CRG’s innovations and then creating new startup companies.
CRG has established a successful track record of commercializing new technologies, spinning off five companies over the past 15 years, including Spintech Holdings and Advantic. However, as CRG’s founder and CEO, Patrick Hood said, “The breadth and depth of technology and inventions that CRG’s employees have created over the years is mind-boggling. We needed a methodical way to more rapidly tap that potential for the benefit of future medical, consumer, and industrial customers as well as to more effectively grow the value of the business.”
The CRG Venture Studio is dedicated to identifying CRG’s most promising commercial opportunities and spinning off new companies to bring those innovations to market. “We investigated a lot of options, looking at the state of the art in business accelerators, incubators, studios, and other concepts for improving the odds of successful technology commercialization,” said Chris Hemmelgarn, CRG’s Chief Revenue Officer. “While we know there will be some lessons and pivots, we are confident we are on the right track to unlock an enormous amount of company value and societal benefit from the Venture Studio… we think we have already identified the next five new startup company opportunities.”
Collaborators within Southwest Ohio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including The Entrepreneur’s Center (TEC), are enthusiastic about CRG’s Venture Studio. “We are excited to work with CRG and its Venture Studio to translate ground-breaking defense technologies into broader commercial use,” said Scott Koorndyk, CEO of TEC. “This is a huge boost for the region’s ecosystem and a great opportunity for new high-tech companies to take root in the region.”
HEATCON®, Inc., a world market leader in composite repair solutions and material supply, has entered into an agreement with Cornerstone Research Group to license CRG’s Deployable Isolation Repair Technology (DIRT BagTM) products for manufacture and distribution.
“This new product is a game changer for those working in repair technology, and we are excited to partner with CRG to bring the DIRT BagTM to the composite repair market,” said Eric Casterline, President of HEATCON. “This product is an ideal complement to Heatcon’s portable composite repair equipment, further reducing the time needed to complete a repair.”
The DIRT BagTM is used by both military and commercial aircraft repair organizations, is listed in Boeing structural repair manuals and the F-35 General Use Consumables List (GUCL), and can be used for other applications where contamination control is needed. It can be set up in minutes and customized for each repair or coating removal situation.
Cornerstone Research Group is under contract with the Missile Defense Agency to manufacture high-temperature, carbon-carbon composite materials that enable advanced hypersonic technologies. This $7 million contract was made possible by provisions Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) included in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and in FY 2020 Defense Appropriations.
Congressman Turner said, “This contract between Cornerstone Research Group and the Missile Defense Agency will reduce costs, increase production, and enhance performance of maturing high-speed platforms required to counter emerging threats from our nation’s near-peer adversaries.” Read the press release here.
For the last decade, CRG has been developing unique subsystem technologies to bring aircraft design and manufacturing back to the Dayton area. Through the hard work of CRG’s newly formed Aerospace Systems Center, they now have multiple aircraft under development. In the past three months, CRG designed and tested two different aircraft platforms, both produced here in Dayton with support from outstanding regional partners.
These aircraft vary in weight from 50 to 1200 pounds and range in size up to a 30-foot wingspan. CRG intends to establish full-fledged aircraft production facilities as the systems currently under development are matured and transitioned.
In 2019, CRG added 31 new employees, for an increase of 48% to previous staff. This was a record percentage increase in one year and brought CRG’s total employee count (excluding affiliates and subsidiaries) to 95. The growth in staff was needed to support a variety of new contract awards. Staff were also added in a variety of technical areas in order to both broaden and deepen the company’s core competencies. In addition, CRG added some key executive positions and a few business staff to support the growing contract base.
In mid-2017 Dr. Patrick Hood, CEO, challenged the organization to double its 2016 revenue by 2019 by focusing on strategic planning, technical and programmatic excellence, and organizational design. CRG achieved 85% growth over this period, slightly less that the original goal, but has positioned the organization for continued growth into 2020 and beyond.
According to Dr. Hood, “The growth we achieved in 2019 was the result of our team delivering strong technically, the addition of key strategic partners to support our efforts, and restructuring our government reimbursement rates so we can be competitive not just in R&D activities but also in production, technical services and in programs where we have large pass-through costs for key subcontractors.”
On the technical front, 2019 saw growth in four principal areas in which CRG demonstrated strong technical results in the past. First, in the field of aerospace systems, CRG was awarded several contracts for which they were able to leverage previously demonstrated technology. Two of these programs required CRG to rapidly design, build and test aircraft with unique capabilities – both of which were successful. Second, in the field of sensor technology, CRG was awarded contracts to develop both garment-integrated and small pod-like biosensors to monitor the health of military personnel and monitor their environment for toxic materials.
Third, CRG’s proprietary high-temperature resin system was successfully used to fabricate structural composites at laboratory scale. The primary value proposition for this material system is reduction in the cost and manufacturing time to fabricate high-temperature composites. Finally, the fourth area of growth was in the design and fabrication of next-generation safe, high-capacity, rechargeable battery technology and the systems that depend on them.
“With the growth we experienced last year and a strengthening sales backlog, we needed to reorganize the company to support further growth. In addition, we’re out of space, so we’ve needed to accelerate our plans for expansion.” Dr. Hood added, “2020 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for CRG.”
On January 31, 2020, CRG made the front page of the Dayton Daily News as it closed on a 60 acre site in Miami Township. Titled “Defense firm adding 250 jobs, ‘actively hiring’ after land buy,” the article covers CRG’s plans to renovate an empty manufacturing building at 8821 Washington Church Road as part of a $10 million expansion.
CRG CEO Dr. Patrick Hood said “This property has the space to expand our development and production capacity as well as plenty of acreage to build out a campus to support additional growth.” Once the new building is fully occupied, the Miamisburg site on Earl Boulevard will be used for composites development and manufacturing. Read the full article here.
In January of 2020, CRG established its new Power and Energy Center (PEC). This new center lets CRG focus on rapidly expanding technologies such as advanced battery cell chemistries, cell fabrication, hybrid electric systems, wearable power technologies, power generation systems, advanced energy storage systems, power management, and distribution and conversion technologies.
The PEC already has multiple systems progressing towards procurement and is conducting research for the DoD, NASA and DHS. The rapid successes taking place in this center have led to the company to begin standing up battery cell production at the new facility that was recently acquired.
The PEC team includes electrical engineers, chemical engineers, software engineers and electrochemists led by PEC Vice President, Brian Henslee. Read more about the PEC here.
On January 28, 2020 CRG acquired new facilities located on Washington Church Rd. in Miamisburg Township. Because of the company’s rapid growth last year (48% increase in staff) and growth projected over the next few years, they required more space for offices, production lines and labs. See DBJ Covers CRG’s Plans to Expand.
This new property more than triples CRG’s facility space. The building is fully climate controlled, with a total of 174,000 sq ft. Located on 60 acres, the new facility adds 126,000 sq ft of manufacturing or production space, 36,000 sq ft of warehouse space, plus 12,000 sq ft of office space. This acquisition leaves room for expansion, including space available for additional new outbuildings. Once the new building is fully occupied, the current space at Earl Blvd. will be used for composites development and manufacturing.
CEO Patrick Hood said, “I am excited to have worked with the Dayton Development Coalition, JobsOhio, Montgomery County and Farmers and Merchants Bank to acquire the property on Washington Church Road. This property will be instrumental in our expansion plans. Our team has developed several new technology platforms rapidly reaching maturity and will require space for both production and added business staff. This property has the space to expand our development and production capacity as well as plenty of acreage to build out a campus to support additional growth.”
CRG also recently leased and moved some of its aerosystems projects into 77,000 sq ft in a building next door to their current space on Earl Blvd. In addition, Advantic, a subsidiary of CRG, has moved into 55,000 sq ft of that extra space next door to support its incredible growth. They tripled their staff in the past year.
After some renovation and re-outfitting, CRG plans to begin moving some activities to their newly acquired building in June.