About the innovator
SpaceStructures specialises in hybrid structures made of advanced metal and fibre-reinforced polymer parts to achieve ultra-lightweight and dimensionally stable structures. SpaceStructures enables space industry customers to achieve ever demanding performance criteria. The team uses a unique combination of simulation-driven design development and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to serve customers worldwide. SpaceStructures supplies SpaceBolt, the only commercially available European software for screw analysis according to space standards, and SpaceStrut, the ultra-lightweight and dimensionally stable strut/rod developed in the FP7 framework. Since 2011, SpaceStructures is managed by its founders and acts as an independent company.
SpaceStructures on Twitter
What is the innovation
When producing carbon-fibre reinforced polymer, the placing of carbon fibres and joining of parts are always the most demanding and critical process steps. SpaceStructures made use of the tailored fibre placement, a technology that allows to place carbon fibres perfectly along the load path which utilizes the material strength as much as possible. Together with our consortium partners, preform and resin infusion technologies have been advanced to such an extent that it becomes possible to produce fully integral carbon-fibre reinforced polymer struts in one shot, without the traditionally laborious bonding processes.
Out of the lab. Into the market
SpaceStrut was branded and launched in 2018. It was initially designed for space applications and has successfully managed to enter this market, but it is basically suitable for any industry. Particularly interesting markets are aircraft and other transport sectors where the structural mass saving translates directly into fuel saving and reduction of transport emissions.
The potential of the product is huge, for example just one Airbus aircraft includes typically several hundred struts which could be replaced by our product, making the aircraft lighter in the order of a few tonnes.
Our ambition is to equip as many transport vehicles as possible, worldwide, with our SpaceStrut, to reduce transport footprint on the environment and climate. There is also the potential to enable new (electric) forms of transport that are simply not possible today due to too high weight of structures.
In addition, in medical and metrology applications SpaceStrut enables more mobile and precise solutions.
In order to get into these markets we need to further work on the topics of cost-effective mass production and certification for dedicated applications together with the end user. Further investment will be required to achieve this.
Benefits of participation in Horizon 2020
The Horizon 2020 programme enabled SpaceStructures to turn an innovative idea into realization. This undertaking would have been too large for a start-up to embark on alone. Also, the relationships formed within the consortium have led to continued working partnerships. In addition to that, an integral element of the European Union’s support was the complementarily offered business coaching. As an SME evolving in the market, the team of SpaceStructures has experienced a lot of organizational transformation, a journey in which every team member was supposed to be taken along and the coaching contributed substantially to the success.
This innovation was funded via H2020 project SPS_TFP_SQ