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.
Building its already substantial intellectual property portfolio, CRG and its affiliates were issued five new patents in 2019. These included:
Patent No. 1,0167,379, Hybrid Fiber Layup and Fiber-Reinforced Polymeric Composites Produced Therefrom. This is a method patent for a making a fiber reinforced polymer composite using different types of fiber reinforcement and cured with a no-oven, no-autoclave process, using the exothermic heat generated by the reactive resin.
Patent No. 1,0292,857, Head-and-Neck Immobilization Devices and Related Methods, about an immobilization device for injured patient transport. It’s part of CRG’s ATLIS platform designed to reduce the risk of further injury during transport, particularly patients with head or spinal injuries.
Patent No. 10,344,139, Electrically Responsive Variable Stiffness Polymer, a material composition and method involving a polymer that can vary its stiffness in response to electric voltage. Potential use includes vibration damping devices that can address different frequency environments.
Patent No. 10,385,905, Bonded Hardware Rapid Cure System, a device and method associated with a rapid cure system for accelerating adhesive bonded hardware installation and repair. This is the main technology for Kineticure’s business in the aerospace industry. The device is specifically designed for use in repairing damage to bonded nutplates in certain aircraft.
Patent No. 10,391,684, Cauls and Methods of Fusing Cauls to Produce Composite Articles, a method for using the “Smart Caul” technology used at CRG’s affiliate Spintech to make composites. It’s part of their smart tooling technologies in composite fabrication and is based on shape memory polymer materials.
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.
Cornerstone Research Group’s Aerospace Systems Center (ASC), officially formed in January 2020, is focused on rapidly advancing state-of-the-art aerospace capabilities. Some of these capabilities include advanced aircraft design, concepts and optimization, electric propulsion technologies, rapid development and fielding and production. The center’s partnership with CRG’s Advanced Manufacturing Center gives them the capability to take advantage of advanced manufacturing techniques for agile and affordable aircraft development and production.
Cornerstone is a leader in quiet electric propulsor technologies and supports multiple aircraft programs. The ASC team has developed, built and successfully tested unmanned aircraft which range in size from 15 pounds with a five-foot wingspan to 1200 pounds with a 30-foot wingspan.
In the next six or seven months the center plans to test a manned aircraft that weighs about 2800 lbs, with a 30-ft wingspan. They have done ground testing of the aircraft.
The ASC team consists of aerospace engineers, advanced flight control engineers, RF physicists, electrical engineers, advanced materials engineers and manufacturing engineers. The team is led by the ASC Vice President, Bryan Pelley.
In July of 2019, CRG established its new High-Temperature Composites Center (HTC). This new center lets CRG focus on applications for its signature high-temp resin, MG resin.
The HTC’s vision is to support carbon/carbon (C/C) manufacturing with materials and process innovation, expand the national industrial base for C/C production, and reduce cost and lead time for C/C parts production.
The HTC team includes materials scientists, chemists, aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers and chemical engineers led by HTC Vice President, Michael Rauscher. Read more about the HTC here.