(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second article in a series on Cohort 4 of “Innovation Crossroads.” The Cohort is in its second year of the program. Each article will focus on what’s next for the innovators and their companies.)
By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the plans of many of the entrepreneurs in the “Innovation Crossroads” program. For Actinic, a company from Cohort 4, it is not yet in a commercial phase. Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Joe Fortenbaugh said this means the company has mostly struggled with supply chain issues causing delays in research and development efforts.
“Global supply chain issues have been the biggest issue caused by the pandemic,” he said. “Equipment we ordered with a listed four- to five-week lead time when purchased, did not start arriving until almost five months later. There are still a couple of key pieces of equipment that have still not arrived.”
Despite these challenges, Fortenbaugh added that “we have still successfully progressed the technology using all available resources, meeting many target metrics for 3D printing set by the Army.”
Fortenbaugh has been working out of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He plans to continue working with the 3D printing experts and engineers at the MDF to develop Actinic’s thermally cured thermoset materials. Learn more about Actinic and how it got started in this teknovation.biz article.
The company recently completed Phase I of a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract with the U.S. Army. Fortenbaugh says he has applied for the follow-on Phase II STTR and will soon be applying for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant with the National Science Foundation (NSF). If Actinic wins the Phase II Army STTR, he plans to start hiring new engineers.
Moving forward, Fortenbaugh is hopeful the company can partner with a 3D printing company to adapt Actinic’s hardware for a commercial 3D printing system.
“We have started to receive significant interest in our technology from established commercial players who would like to partner to incorporate our technology into their existing lines of 3D printers, and in fact, we have already negotiated such a development agreement with a U.S.-based company,” he said.