Vartega awarded $255k in grant funding

Vartega was recently awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and the state of Colorado for R&D into carbon fiber polymer powder for additive manufacturing applications, and for expansion of its advanced material recycling program.
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Vartega Inc. (Golden, Colo., U.S.) has announced that it has been awarded $255k in grant funding.

In late April the company was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF, Alexandria, Va., U.S.) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $224,998 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on carbon fiber reinforced polymer powders for additive manufacturing applications.

Vartega says it is leveraging its carbon fiber recycling technology and material development expertise to advance polymer feedstocks for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing. The company claims to be developing a process that will allow thermoplastic powders to be reinforced with carbon fiber while ensuring the materials will produce functional parts in infrared additive systems. This advancement will reportedly enable digital manufacturers to realize the full potential of new powder-based hardware platforms to produce parts that perform similarly to injection molded materials at medium volume production rates.

“By offering carbon fiber reinforced polymer powders, manufacturers in sectors like UAV and medical prosthetics will realize the benefits of fast, complex and customized 3D printing, while ensuring that their material selection will exhibit the structural integrity required for their product,” says Alice Havill, chief operating officer at Vartega.

In addition, Vartega has been awarded a $25,000 grant in recognition of plans to expand its recycling program and create new green-sector jobs. The funding is part of the Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) competitive grant program, which is administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE, Denver, Colo., U.S.).

“The funds we receive through this RREO grant will help us do more to keep high-value advanced materials like thermoset and thermoplastic composites out of landfills,” says Andrew Maxey, Vartega CEO. “As an RREO grant recipient, Vartega will be using the funds to invest in shredding equipment to enable the reuse of thermoplastic composite scrap and waste generated from industries such as additive manufacturing/3D printing, aerospace, drone production and sporting goods.”

The shredding equipment enabled through this grant will also be used for the AMIDE Alliance (Golden, Colo., U.S.), a collaboration between public and private partners dedicated to closing the gap in advanced materials development for additive manufacturing. The AMIDE Alliance was founded in 2018 through an initiative funded by another state program, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Advanced Industries Collaborative Infrastructure Grant.

Vartega is also one of nine teams selected for the Colorado NextCycle Program. Each team receives a $5,000 business development grant, mentoring from the Colorado NextCycle technical advisory committee, and technical support from the recycling and sustainability consulting firm Resource Recycling System (RRS, Ann Arbor, Mich., U.S.). Teams will pitch their recovered/recycled material end-market business ideas at Colorado’s Summit for Recycling in June and will have the ability to submit their business ideas for the 2019 department grant cycle for funding to implement their business proposals in the state.