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QuesTek Honored with Prestigious Tibbetts Award

February 07, 2017

EVANSTON, IL, February 7, 2017 – QuesTek Innovations LLC was invited to the White House in early January to accept the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2016 Tibbetts Award. This prestigious award is presented to small businesses, organizations and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in leveraging Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding to generate measurable impact through technological innovation, technology transfer, business impact and product commercialization. The 2016 Tibbetts Award was presented to 37 small businesses, and QuesTek was specifically recognized for their unique contributions to the field of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) and President Obama’s Materials Genome Initiative.

At the ceremony, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet remarked, “Today we celebrate and honor the important technological advances pioneered by these small high-tech firms – from breakthroughs in additive manufacturing to genomic research to novel cancer therapeutics.  These innovators are creating jobs and building new industries while helping to address many of the nation’s most pressing challenges.”

QuesTek received its first SBIR-funded project in 2001, and has since been awarded over $30 million across a total of 93 projects, all of which have focused on the modeling and design of novel materials. QuesTek’s reported commercialization value ranks it in the 95th percentile of all SBIR recipient companies. SBIR funding (from DOD, DOE, DARPA and NASA) has enabled QuesTek to create more than 30 jobs, transition its ICME technology and a team of engineers to a leading Silicon Valley consumer electronics corporation, form a joint venture with Thermo-Calc Software in Sweden to expand its ICME offerings into the European market, and recently enter into a strategic partnership with a major US-based company to design and commercialize game-changing alloys.

Under SBIR-funded projects, QuesTek designed and commercialized two ultra-high performance steels: (i) Ferrium® M54® steel, which was successfully qualified and transitioned into the U.S. Navy T-45 fleet for the safety-critical hook shank component application and is and bringing an estimated $3 million in savings to the Navy based on an order of 60 components, and (ii) Ferrium C64® steel which is being qualified by Bell Helicopter and Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin for next generation helicopter transmissions, replacing lower-performing steels that have been used for decades, and allowing for significant increases in power density.

Both of these steels have received U.S. patents and are commercially available through a license agreement from leading specialty steel producer, Carpenter Technology.

QuesTek has also used SBIR funding to design new advanced materials across a range of industries and alloy systems, for example, high performance aluminum alloys tailored for additive manufacturing processes that address hot cracking issues observed in Al legacy alloys. Also, QuesTek designed three unique titanium alloys suited for additive manufacturing and that offer greater strength and toughness versus traditional Ti-6Al-4V. In addition, QuesTek developed a low cost, high performance single crystal nickel casting alloy for industrial gas turbine blades applications.

For more information on QuesTek and the Tibbetts Award nomination, contact Jeff Grabowski, Manager of Applications and Product Commercialization, at 1-847-425-8241 or jgrabowski@questek.com.


QuesTek Innovations LLC (www.questek.com) is a global leader in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME).  QuesTek uses its proprietary Materials by Design® expertise to rapidly develop new materials that reduce capital, processing, operating or maintenance costs, or improve environmental protection or competitive supply. QuesTek has been highlighted in many leading business and technical publications, and has more than 30 US patents awarded and/or pending. It has a family of Ferrium steels that is licensed to Carpenter Technology and are being used for example on US Air Force and Navy jets as landing gear components and being qualified to increase the power density and durability of next generation helicopter gear boxes.

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