SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Innovation Institute, announced today that it has received a $600,000 grant from the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to support California’s defense innovation and manufacturing ecosystem through small business development. California is home to more than 30,000 defense suppliers for the US Department of Defense, making it a critical state for innovative defense initiatives to ensure that the US military has access to the latest technology to secure the nation.
NextFlex was selected to receive the grant due to its expertise in FHE manufacturing which combines previously impossible attributes for systems together to produce form factors, cost points, lot sizes and delivery schedules simply not possible with traditional methods. FHE is a robust additive digital technology that produces lightweight, flexible and stretchable smart systems, and is revolutionizing heterogeneous integration and multilayer advanced packaging in electronics.
With the grant funds, NextFlex will support small businesses in the California defense industrial base by providing access to leading edge FHE design, prototyping, and low-volume additive manufacturing services through its Technology Hub in San Jose.
“This important program will not only help small California businesses develop their products, it will help expand the role of flexible electronics and additive manufacturing in defense applications,” said Malcolm Thompson, NextFlex Executive Director. “We are pleased to be working with the state of California to help small defense manufacturers design in leading edge advanced technology into their systems and realize all of the advantages that FHE can provide.”
NextFlex specializes in medical wearables, and its manufacturing hub is ITAR and FDA compliant, and can produce functional devices and systems for defense applications as well as for commercial customers.
The California Advanced Defense Ecosystems & National Consortia Effort (CADENCE) oversees the grant, drawing together symbiotic ecosystem partners such as the new US Space Command’s Combined Force Space Component Command (CFSCC), the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR), NavelX Tech Bridges, National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) and Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) to align development of secure next generation warfare systems and to train the defense manufacturing workforce. Through this grant, NextFlex will help small businesses strengthen their capabilities to support these objectives.
“The erosion of American manufacturing capacity and capability over the last several decades threatens to undermine the ability of U.S. suppliers in the innovation and manufacturing base to meet national security requirements. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach that builds on close partnerships between DoD, state and local governments, institutions of higher education, business, and non-profit organizations. California’s defense innovation and manufacturing ecosystems play a premier role in safeguarding the mission readiness and enhancing the lethality of the American Armed Forces,” said Eileen Sanchez, CADENCE Program Manager with the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. “NextFlex and FHE are well positioned to advance DoD modernization priorities, particularly with small manufacturers who are essential to the long-term economic vitality of the state.”
Qualified small businesses can apply for funding to convert existing product designs to flexible ones, or to develop an entirely new IoT product. NextFlex will host a public webinar on Wednesday, February 17 at 11:00 am PDT for any small California-based company or any US-based company with operations in California to help them learn more about how they can apply for funding and support. Register here for the free webinar to learn more about qualification criteria and how to apply.
NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal government partners with the shared goal of advancing the manufacture of flexible hybrid electronics in the U.S. Since its formation in 2015, the NextFlex community of technologists, educators, problem solvers and manufacturers have come together to collectively facilitate innovation and promote sustainable manufacturing ecosystems.
NextFlex Work Force Development programs such as FlexFactor narrow the manufacturing workforce gap making direct industry engagement with future-focused companies and high-performance workplaces, it brings real-world experiences to students, allowing them to see how advanced materials and electronic devices combine to create innovative solutions for a diverse range of problems. In addition, students engage with the education pathways at local colleges and universities that will help them gain the knowledge and skills needed in order to join the workforce of the future.
NextFlex is one of eight Manufacturing Innovation Institutes established by the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program as public-private partnerships and funded through the AFRL Cooperative Agreement FA8650-20-2-5506. 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 additive printing processes and new materials. The result: lightweight, low-cost, flexible, thin, and conformable and highly efficient smart products with innumerable uses for consumer, commercial and military applications.