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Lockheed Martin Joins NextFlex to Accelerate Flexible Hybrid Electronics Innovation

Global Security and Aerospace Company Joins more than 50 Companies, Academic Institutions, and Non-Profits in Public-Private Partnership

San Jose, Calif. – Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company, has solidified its role as a Corporate Tier 1 member of NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute. More than 50 companies, universities, and other industry organizations have become members of NextFlex—a testament to the growing interest surrounding FHE manufacturing.

NextFlex, a Manufacturing USA institute, mobilizes companies, academic institutions, nonprofits, and state and local governments toward a single goal: to advance America’s FHE manufacturing ecosystem. Members gain access to manufacturing capabilities, project funding, and other technical activities for human/structural monitoring, communications, and robotics, as well as workforce development.

Dr. Malcolm Thompson, Executive Director of NextFlex, noted, “Without a collaborative approach to build an ecosystem, it would take years and significant investment for a company to create the infrastructure to support mass production of FHE – a challenge NextFlex is circumventing with the help of its members.” Dr. Thompson added, “NextFlex is fortunate to have the support from Lockheed Martin and our other members to bring this goal to fruition.”

As part of its Tier 1 Membership, Lockheed Martin has appointed James P. Libous to the NextFlex Governing Council. Libous, a Lockheed Martin Fellow, currently directs Lockheed Martin’s Enterprise-level Advanced Electronics technology and innovation strategy, and is spearheading the corporation’s partnership with the electronics-focused Manufacturing USA institutes.

“Lockheed Martin is continually pushing the limits of technology to help solve the world’s most critical challenges and hybrid electronics has the potential to bring significant performance improvements and new design standards for aerospace and defense applications,” said Jeff Wilcox, Vice President of Engineering and Program Operations at Lockheed Martin. “We look forward to our work with NextFlex on defining the direction of technologies for structural monitoring and robotics and demonstrating their potential through projects with partner organizations.”

About Flexible Hybrid Electronics
FHE combines the ability to add electronics to new and unique materials that are part of our everyday lives, with the power of silicon ICs to create lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable and stretchable smart products to solve new problems and advance the efficiency of our world.

Once in full production, FHE will usher in a new era of “electronics on everything.” Intelligence will be taken out of the boxes or packages associated with traditional electronics like PCs, smartphones and tablets, and transplanted directly onto a variety of surfaces including the human body, enabling an entirely new breed of defense and commercial applications we haven’t imagined. But to develop these enabling FHEs, new manufacturing solutions are required, and they come with significant integration challenges. Working alone, it would take years, perhaps decades, and unprecedented amounts of capital for a company to create the infrastructure to support mass production of FHEs. NextFlex, along with its members, is working to rapidly uncover and solve the complex manufacturing issues associated with production of flexible hybrid electronics, and ultimately create a manufacturing infrastructure that can efficiently be spun out to private industry.

About NextFlex
NextFlex was founded on August 28, 2015, through the execution of a Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and FlexTech Alliance. A public-private partnership, NextFlex is the seventh Manufacturing Innovation Institute funded through Manufacturing USA to create, showcase, and deploy new capabilities and new manufacturing processes.