NextFlex Launches $10.5M Funding Round for Anti-Counterfeiting, Flex Batteries and Hypersonics Innovation


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NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, released Project Call 5.0 (PC 5.0) — the latest call for proposals to fund projects that seek to further the development and adoption of FHE. Response to the first four project calls exceeded expectations, resulting in over $73M in investment. The PC 5.0 total project value is expected to exceed $10.5 million (project value/investment figures include cost-sharing) bringing the total anticipated investment in advancing flexible hybrid electronics since NextFlex’s formation to over $83.5M.

NextFlex has experienced an increasingly focused Project Call process, building upon developments from preceding Project Calls. PC 1.0 focused largely on FHE application areas in two large markets: human health monitoring and structural asset monitoring. PC 2.0 benefitted from the NextFlex roadmap activity by identifying gaps resulting from that early work. As a result, several equipment development efforts were launched to create tools tailored for FHE production. PC 3.0 turned the focus to two areas: subsystem development and manufacturing process and capability gaps. PC 4.0 focused on key needs in the FHE manufacturing process and demonstrated newly enabled applications in digital health, commercial aviation and national security needs.

Project Call 5.0 focuses on challenges related to scalable manufacturing and application-driven manufacturing gaps that have been prioritized by the community across a wide range of application areas — from anti-counterfeiting to structural health monitoring to hypersonics. These areas cover the spectrum from design tools to fabrication processes to materials data generation.

“Our Project Calls address industry-driven problems, those critical manufacturing issues that are best solved collaboratively,” said Malcolm J. Thompson, NextFlex Executive Director. “Project Call 5.0 will break new ground across many application areas, providing the catalyst needed to drive flexible hybrid electronics toward commercialization and showcasing NextFlex’s focus on advancing National Defense priorities by co-investing in projects identified by DoD Agencies.” 

Project proposals should tackle these industry-driven problems and offer solutions that include a plan for transitioning projects to the U.S. industrial manufacturing base, and should focus on manufacturing challenges in these areas:

  • Demonstration of Inkjet Printing as a Path to Digital Manufacturing
  • DataCubes for the FHE Material and Process Database
  • Flexible Hybrid Electronics Process Design Kit 2.0
  • Structural Health Monitoring: Scalable Manufacturing of Embedded Sensors
  • Trusted Flexible Hybrid Electronics, Anti-Counterfeiting, and Data Privacy
  • Evaluation and Testing of Flexible Batteries
  • Additively Manufactured High Temperature Electronics for Hypersonics

To demonstrate and develop applications of priority for National Defense and advance the manufacturability of the resulting solutions, these topics have co-investment or follow-up funding interest from DoD agencies:

  • Temperature and Humidity Sensing in Extreme Environments
  • Conformal Antennas for Telemetry
  • Flexible Interconnects for Large Deployable X-Band Phased Arrays

More information on NextFlex’s PC 5.0, including proposal submission instructions, can be found here. Parties interested in submitting a proposal are strongly encouraged to attend the public PC 5.0 Proposer’s Day on June 11 in Arlington, VA and/or to register for the PC 5.0 Webinar to be held on June 19, 2019, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT. The webinar will provide an overview of the Project Call and will outline the timeline for acceptance of pre-proposals.

About NextFlex

NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, is a leading force in the Manufacturing USA network of Institutes. Formed through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and FlexTech Alliance, NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal governments with a shared goal of advancing U.S. manufacturing of FHE. Since its formation in 2015, NextFlex’s elite team of thought leaders, educators, problem solvers and manufacturers have come together to collectively facilitate innovation, narrow the manufacturing workforce gap and promote sustainable manufacturing ecosystems. For more information, visit www.nextflex.us and follow NextFlex on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) 

FHE gives everyday products the power of silicon ICs by combining them with new and unique printing processes and new materials. The result: lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable, stretchable and highly efficient smart products with innumerable uses for consumer, commercial and military applications.

 

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