(Chesapeake, VA, June 2, 2021) VRC Metal Systems, LLC, in collaboration with Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge and the U.S. Navy, is creating an industrial facility in the City of Chesapeake, creating up to 10 new jobs for the Hampton Roads region over a five-year period.
The Naval Sea Systems Command Technology Office champions the timely transition of emerging technologies into ships, submarines, and the communities that design, build and maintain them – resulting in a more affordable and capable Fleet. Transitioning new technology from identification of the technology to the initial fielding in the repair facilities has been a major challenge, often referred to as the “Innovation valley of Death”. The Naval Sea Systems Command Technology Office developed the Cold Spray “pop up cell” concept to provide new technology as a service. The pop up cell combines work space and equipment to perform component repairs as a service to the Navy with ship and submarine components targeted for repair at the site. The site will provide shared access to the Navy and Private industrial base sectors, and support technology assessment in addition to the repairs. The pop up cells are designed to open 90 days after contract award and provide a repaired component to the Navy in 21 days or less from the time it arrives until it is shipped back to the customer. The pop up cell model is expected to be adapted and scaled to meet future evolving repair requirements and support new technologies as they emerge.
VRC plans to lease 9,800 square feet in 1220 A Fleetway Drive in the Cavalier Industrial Park. The company’s initial investment will be used to create a commercial entity for industrial repair and innovative manufacturing process applications that utilize the company’s cold spray technology.
VRC Metal Systems, LLC was founded in January 2013 after obtaining an exclusive license for the commercialization of the patent pending high pressure, portable cold spray capability. The technology was commercialized by 22-year Air Force veteran, Rob Hrabe and his partner, Dr. Christian Widener, in collaboration with the Army Research Laboratory and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. The patent was licensed by VRC after a joint ownership agreement between the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and the Army Research Laboratory was Commander 2nd Fleet, in partnership with the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic Hampton Roads Detachment, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Damneck Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division Norfolk Detachment, connects active duty personnel with those who can provide agile technology solutions. Leveraging a connection to a robust ecosystem spanning well beyond the Commonwealth of Virginia, MATB facilitates innovative technology solutions of interest to the region and the Department of the Navy. MATB is one of more than a dozen Tech Bridges within the NavalX Tech Bridge program.
The Department of the Navy introduced its NavalX Tech Bridges program in as a means of increasing collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation with leading-edge tech companies and innovation partners to accelerate solutions to warfighters. The NavalX Tech Bridges are a connected network to foster new relationships between Naval Labs, industry, academia, and other military branches. The Tech Bridges are used to create commercial business spaces that are located off-base. This approach offers a more easily accessible landing spot to foster a collaborative ecosystem to build productive partnerships with commercial entities and accelerate delivery of dual-use solutions to the Navy. The program also offers access to state and local government and academic agencies creating a richer regional innovation ecosystem and further supporting economic development.
Mayor of Chesapeake, Rick West, stated “This is a big win for City of Chesapeake and Hampton Roads Region. With the locating of VRC Metal Systems’ innovative technologies, along with the introduction of the Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge to the city, Chesapeake will continue to strengthen its cooperation with its military partners for years to come.”
“We are excited to welcome VRC Metal Systems to the Chesapeake business community,” said Steven Wright, Chesapeake Economic Development Director. “This investment along with the introduction of the Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge will open the city and the region up to a new offering of innovative technology companies that service our military assets.”
“We welcome VRC Metal Systems to our Hampton Roads community”, commented Nancy Garden, Executive Director, Hampton Roads Maritime Collaborative for Growth & Innovation (HRMC). “The Navy Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge, Hampton Roads Alliance, City of Chesapeake, HRMC, Old Dominion University, and other partners and companies truly collaborated on this regional introduction and for future support.”
On June 2nd, VRC Metal Systems held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at their new industrial facility in Chesapeake. The ceremony included a demonstration of the cold spray process and was well attended by public and private business leaders, as well as both active duty and retired members of the U.S. Navy.