OODA Loop – Mobile, Autonomous 3D-printed Drone Manufacturing
Featured image source: 3D Printing Media Network
About the 2022 OODA Loop series: Autonomous everything
In a series of posts titled Autonomous Everything, we examine automation in all its technological forms, including legacy working assumptions about the term itself. Autonomous Everything includes a broad autonomous future in areas such as Security automation, automation and the workforce, automation – or augmentation – of the workforce, and Automating AI/Machine Learning Training Models and Industry Standardization. We recently caught up with Junaid Islam, a renowned cybersecurity expert, to discuss security automation tools, the increased cyber risks facing enterprises, and the emerging AI-based Zero Trust cybersecurity for smart energy, transportation, and manufacturing systems.
We are now exploring Orbital Composites’ work with the United States Air Force to create mobile, autonomous 3D printed drone manufacturing capabilities.
About Orbital Composites
Dissatisfied with current technologies, Cole Nielsen founded Orbital Composites in 2014 based on the idea that “3D printers should be designed around the parts they create. The solution: robots. Robotic automation offers tremendous benefits at the fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing systems, including scalability, and complex 3D printing on curves. To further prepare our customers for industry 4.0, we knew we had to equip our technology to be able to synchronize down-to-the-millisecond data across thousands of cloud robots and IoT devices. After determining these as the industry’s future requirements, we launched Orbital S in 2019 to propel our world into the next generation of manufacturing. But this is just the beginning – the quest to develop impossible products will not stop. We are committed to constant innovation, not only to adapt to our transient global economy, but to be leaders of change. (1)
A Technology Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the innovation arm of the Department of the Air Force, AFWERX accelerates agile and affordable capability transitions by teaming innovative technology developers with Airman and Guardian talent. In AFWERX, AFVentures expands the defense industrial base for advanced technologies, Spark empowers Airmen and Guardian talent, and Prime drives transition to operational capabilities. Spanning academia, industry, investment, interagency and international partners is essential to expanding technology, talent and the transition of dual-use capabilities. Last year, Fast Company ranked AFWERX #16 of the best workplaces for innovators. The AFFWERX MISSION is to accelerate agile and affordable capability transitions by teaming innovative technology developers with Airman and Guardian talent. (2)
Orbital Composites wins second US Air Force contract
As reported by Edward Wakefield at the 3D Printing Media Network:
Orbital Composites, an official Kuka Systems partner, was selected by AFWERX, a program office at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that connects innovators across government, industry and academia, for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II focused on mobile, autonomous 3D printed drone manufacturing to explore the technology’s potential to fill capability gaps in the Department of the Air Force (DAF).
Orbital Composites’ multi-robot printing
Orbital Composites, Inc. is a Silicon Valley startup reinventing the way mesoscale to megascale composites are manufactured by developing proprietary robotic 3D printers, materials and software. The company’s mission is to create mobile, autonomous and sustainable composite manufacturing factories through robotic continuous fiber 3D printing of recyclable materials. The company’s unique and patented capabilities enable it to manufacture products and components from composite materials, such as carbon fiber, at faster rates, lower costs, higher volumes, and with customization not possible with existing manufacturing processes.
The AFRL is the primary scientific research and development center for the DAF. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfare technologies for the U.S. Air, Space, and Cyberspace Forces. With a workforce of more than 11,000 staff in nine technology areas and 40 other operations around the world, AFRL offers a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development.
Orbital Composites’ areas of application
The AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR process by accelerating the small business experience through faster proposal-to-award timelines, shifting the pool of potential applicants through opportunities to small businesses expand, and reduce bureaucracy. overhead by continuously implementing process improvement changes in contract execution.
The DAF first offered ‘The Open Topic’ SBIR/STTR program in 2018 which expanded the range of innovations the DAF funded. Orbital Composites has already begun its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will potentially strengthen the national defense of the United States of America. (3)
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