The Composite Engineering Challenge

MCG Advanced Materials Division and Wevolver are searching for entrepreneurs and innovators ambitious to rewrite the rules of lightweight carbon fiber composites.

Composite Engineering Challenge

The Composite Engineering Challenge invites innovators, entrepreneurs, and early adopters that want to scale up their carbon fiber projects.

The winning entry will be rewarded with a partnership with Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division

This partnership package is valued at $25,000 and will be tailored to the winning team’s needs according to their current business and product development stage. 

Learn more ABOUT applying here.

Challenge Awards

Overall Jury Winner

Prize: Business, manufacturing, and design support package worth $25 000 USD. 

Scale your innovation. Gain global exposure. Access the Mitsubishi network.

The winner of the Composites Engineering Challenge will enter into a partnership with Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division, to develop their product or part in a way that enables them to scale their production. 

This may be a combination of technical, design, business advice, prototype development, or other manufacturing assistance. The prize is designed with the winner to give them the resources and support they need at their specific production and business stage. 

This includes but is not limited to:

Hands-on Support

  • Support in material/technology selection.
  • Support to design for manufacturing.
  • Support in tool design.
  • Support to scale your production. 
  • Support in providing a cost prognosis for medium to high-volume production and prototyping.

Access to resources

  • Access to MCG's latest carbon-reinforced composite materials (thermoset and thermoplastic-based) at scale.
  • Access to part production manufacturing technologies at scale (either at MCG or within the partner network).

Exposure to Wider Network 

  • Opportunity for equity investment via MCG's CVC arm (Diamond Edge Ventures).
  • Exposure to potential customers.
  • Access to experts in community and jury.
  • Global exposure in various media outlets.

Innovations for a Circular Economy 

  • Access to circularity and sustainability experts.
  • Access to composites with a low carbon footprint by using recycled Carbon Fiber (rCF).
  • Access to the take-back program (production waste or end-of-live parts).

The total value of this package is $25,000 and is developed together between the winning team, Growth Garage, and MCG Advanced Materials Division. Read about previous challenge winners and the support they received here.

Innovation Award 

Prize: Business, manufacturing, and design support package worth support worth $10, 000 USD. The innovation award will be awarded to the most impactful, differentiated, innovative idea. 

The Innovation Award Winner of the Composites Engineering Challenge will enter a partnership with Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division, to further develop their product or part to scale their project. 

This may be a combination of technical, design, business advice, prototype development, or other manufacturing assistance. The total value of this package is $10,000 and is developed together between the winning team and Growth Garage. 

Wevolver Community Winner 

Prize: Honourable Recognition and media coverage. 

The Wevolver Community Winner is decided through a public poll of the finalists. The voting opens after the finalists are announced and runs from January 11- January 20, 2023. The winner is the entry with the highest number of votes. 

The winner will receive an honorable mention at the awards ceremony and be brought to the attention of senior management of MCG and the Venture group of MCG. Further, the winner will be interviewed for an article published on Growth Garage and Wevolver.   


Composite Engineering Challenge Introduction Webinar

In this recorded webinar, Tim Vorage, Global Growth Manager at (Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division). introduces the composite challenge, discusses the latest in carbon fiber technology, and provides insight into how to create a competitive  


Challenge the status quo of composites’ scalability

Who can enter?

The challenge is open to any business, research team, or project currently working on a product or part manufactured from composites that have the ambition to ramp up its production.  

You may currently be in prototype or small series production using a low quantity production process such as 3DP, CNC, autoclave, vacuum bag, manual layup and want to scale to medium to large scale production using technologies such as compression molding, form pressing, injection molding (IM), hybrid overmolding. 

The challenge is open to teams and companies around the world. If you face challenges in scaling up your production – this is the opportunity for you. Mitsubishi Chemical Group and Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division will help you take you from where you are to the next level of production, assisting with design and business mentorship, material selection, and manufacturing.  

If you are unsure if you qualify to enter, please get in touch with the Business Incubator Growth Garage team directly at growthgarage@mcam.com

The Judging Criteria

The Composite Engineering challenge is looking for projects already in production that are ambitiously looking to scale and expand. 

The jury will reward projects that prioritize sustainability and push the boundaries of lightweighting while maintaining high feasibility and ingenuity.

To enter, teams are asked to register on the Growth Garage site and complete an entry form that asks for team details, a project description, and a Technical Readiness Level (TRL) estimate. Your submission should be supported with images, drawings, or video. 

Successful designs will meet the following submission requirements:

Technical Feasibility and Technical Readiness Level (TRL)

Although NASA developed the TRL scale to enable the more effective assessment and communication of the maturity of new technologies, it has since been adopted by many other organizations, such as the European Union, allowing for easy translation into multiple industry sectors.

The US Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Air Force, the oil and gas industry, and the European Space Agency (ESA) in Europe all use the TRL scale. Further information on how to estimate your project’s TRL can be found in the full judging criteria.

Initial guiding questions on how to evaluate and describe your submission include:

  • Is your product or part made from, or do you want it to be made from lightweight carbon composite materials?
  • Is your current material/design/production technology combination scalable?
  • Do you foresee challenges when scaling production with your current manufacturing technology, such as; too long cycle time, reproducibility, lead times, part performance, or costs?

Commercial Feasibility 

  • Is there a proven business case?
  • Did you already test your product or prototype with customers?
  • Do you have recurring sales?
  • Are you looking for finance opportunities to scale your business?

Uniqueness and Impact on Industry

  • Does the project address an area previously identified or underutilized?
  • Does the project use composite materials innovatively?
  • Are composites being used for other reasons besides lightweighting?

Scalability

  • Is the current team and product scalable with the injection of resources?

Sustainability and Circularity

Does the idea positively impact the environment? For example:

  • Production: Reducing/recycling waste or reducing the energy consumption
  • In-use: metal replacement (lightweighting), friction reduction, etc.
  • End-of-life: facilitate a closed-loop for recycling (recollect parts end-of-life)

All entries to the challenge will be reviewed by an expert Jury comprised of engineers, material experts, business leaders, and designers. 

Register to submit here. 

The 2022 Composite Engineering Challenge Jury

Tim Vorage - Global Growth Manager at (Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division).

Dr. Lisa Weigand - Advisor Circular Economy at Mitsubishi Chemical Europe.

Bram Geenen – Founder and CEO, Wevolver.

Randy White - President -Engineered Solutions at MCG Advanced Materials Division

Mark Geljon - Customer Experience leader, change-maker, and social entrepreneur.

Jules Harings - Associate Professor & Group leader Macromolecular Physics & Technology at AMIBM / Maastricht University.

Dr. Peter Walde - Founder & CEO at MAPEGY.

Andy Rudd - Global New Business Development Manager, Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates.

Henning Bloech  - Global Director Sustainable Solutions MCG Advanced Materials Division

Will Chan - Composites Engineering Manager, Specialized Bicycle Components.

Fumiko Uraki - Director of Venture Department at Mitsubishi Chemical Group Corporation.

Jonas Grau Thomsen - CEO and Founder of Nordic Bionics / Thought leader/InfluencerNordic Bionics - Rehabilitation and Wearable Technology.

David Leach - Director, Business Development ATC Manufacturing

Stefan Schnippering - Venture Associate, Ph.D., Diamond Edge Ventures

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Submit your idea to the challenge

Register for the challenge and complete the entry form by Saturday, December 31st, 2022, before 12 pm (PT). The more detailed and comprehensive your entry, the better the jury can understand and evaluate your project. 

Enter the Challenge here

Early-Bird Submissions

Submit your idea to the challenge before Wednesday, 30 November 2022, and Mitsubishi engineers and Growth Garage leadership will review your entry and provide written or verbal feedback. You can adjust your project and re-enter your submission, strengthening your entry. 

Live Webinar

On November 11, 2023, Global Growth Manager at (Growth Garage, Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division), Tim Vorage will present a live webinar about the challenge. In the webinar, you will receive more insight into what the jury team is looking for and what's in it for you as a potential winner. There will also be time to answer all your questions. 

Key Dates

Composite Challenge Launch Monday, October 24th, 2022
Composite Challenge Webinar. Register here. Thursday, November 17th, 17:00 - 18:00 CET. 
Early Bird Submission Closes Wednesday, November 30th, 2022
Challenge Close Saturday, December 31st, 2022
Finalists Announced Wednesday, January 11th, 2023
Wevolver Community Vote Wednesday, January  11th – Friday 20th, 2023
Winners announcement Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Carbon Composites

Composites are created by taking two or more materials with different physical and/or chemical properties that, when combined, result in a new material that possesses performance attributes that cannot be obtained otherwise. Today, many composites are engineered using carbon fiber, combined with a polymer resin to create high-performance structural parts that are lighter and stronger than metal. 

Carbon composite technologies have colossal application potential in the aerospace, new mobility, robotics, bionics, industrial and automotive segments, to name just a few. Any application that requires the mechanical performance of metal but would benefit from being more lightweight, cheaper, and scalable has the potential for carbon composite technology.  

Benefits from light weighting with carbon composite technologies include: 

  • Improved fuel economy / lower CO2 emissions (new mobility, autonomous delivery, aerospace)
  • Improved accuracy, speed, and/or reduced energy consumption (robotics, UAV, AAV, moving/rotating parts)
  • Improved performance (damping, crash resistance, corrosion resistance)
  • Improved process efficiency / decomplex (part integration, easy assembly)
  • Improved well-being of people (wheelchairs, bionics, exoskeletons, medical instruments).

Mitsubishi Composite Toolbox

Mitsubishi Chemical Group has developed the Composites Toolbox, a combination of high-quality composite materials, experts, and manufacturing methods to rewrite what’s possible in engineering.  By replacing traditional materials with composite solutions that meet future performance, consumer, and sustainability requirements, more engineers can help enhance the world.

The Composite toolbox includes a variety of materials; ranging from glass, carbon, or natural fiber reinforcements with a thermoset or thermoplastic matrix. A reduction of the environmental footprint can be obtained with low carbon footprint solutions, such as” recycled carbon fiber (rCF), recycled thermoplastics, or biobased thermoset resins.

Are you using a manual layup and think you need to compromise on freedom of design? The design freedom of some of these materials, such as KyronTEX, enables new designs at scale with high process efficiency due to the elimination of various intermediate process steps.

From a custom thermoplastic carbon composite organofleece into a part in 1 compression molding step, i.e. no intermediate lamination, placement, and consolidation steps required.

Further reading and resources:

For more information get in touch with Wevolver Content Director, Jessica Miley.

About the sponsor: Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials & Growth Garage

MCG Advanced Materials Division is a leading global manufacturer of high-performance materials in the form of semi-finished products and finished parts. The company has locations in 20 countries and more than 2,800 employees. Its specialty engineering thermoplastics and composites are superior in performance to metals and other materials and are used in a wide range of applications, primarily in the capital goods industry. The company is continuously developing new areas of applications in close cooperation with industry leaders in a wide variety of customer markets. 

Growth Garage is the Business Incubator of the MCG Advanced Materials Division. Our mission is to support and grow new ideas using our technologies and advanced engineering materials to help tackle some of today's biggest engineering challenges. We are offering the opportunity for engineers and innovators to pitch us their ideas and receive manufacturing support and services. 


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