Liz Nickels spoke to Wyoming-based start-up Teton Composites about 3D printing reinforced plastics, stress analysis software, and the importance of analysis in composite design.
In August of 2017, Teton Composites, based in Wyoming, USA, was awarded a US National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of US$224,194 to develop software for structural analysis in the exploding market of 3D printing (3DP), also known as additive manufacturing (AM). While additive manufacturing has been around for decades in numerous forms, the technology is undergoing a renaissance attributed to a marked transition from prototyping to manufacturing.
Although Teton Composites itself is only two years old, the company has extensive experience related to the field of finite element analysis of composite structures, the focal point of the current business enterprise. Teton’s roots extend back to founders of Firehole Technologies – a software company devoted to failure analysis of high performance composite materials. Firehole was known for multiscale progressive failure software solutions with notable applications in aerospace, commercial aircraft, wind energy, and Formula 1 auto racing.
‘Teton is an advanced materials simulation company, focused on optimizing the structural performance of parts designed for additive manufacturing. The speed and simplicity of Teton’s solution is transformative, empowering customers to achieve the best possible design for the lowest cost,’ Teton CEO Mike Kmetz tells me. ‘When we started this about two years ago, we initially looked at simulation of reinforced plastics in injection molding, but our customer discovery work led us to believe that, while the current 3D print software analysis market has yet to mature, our software development over the next 2–3 years is likely welled timed with the growth of additive manufacturing. Indeed, we have an opportunity to ride a wave of growth and technological advancement in 3D printing over the next decade and beyond. Our initial software release is planned for 2019.’