EUR 16 million of new financing from the EIB to support Airborne International

The European Investment Bank today confirmed new financing of EUR 16 million to support Airborne International’s research and development investments. The new funding will be used to further develop automated and digital composite manufacturing and the development of advanced products for new large-scale space and science applications.

Arno van Mourik, CEO of Airborne, said: “The EIB’s support for Airborne’s investment program allows us to accelerate the development and commercialization of new composite automation, enabling much lower costs, offering much more flexibility and reducing material waste. This will enable our customers to develop and manufacture advanced composite products to be more durable, reduce fuel consumption and deliver better performance.”

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 16 million of innovation financing via sub-prime debt to leading digital composites manufacturer Airborne. This will boost innovation of new composites and unlock exciting new applications, reduce energy consumption and create 114 highly skilled jobs. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting investment in innovation and the new partnership with Airborne demonstrates how research and development can transform everyday life and industry through the digitalization and automation of production,” said Kris Peeters, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank.

Micky Adriaansens, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands: “We need to strengthen our innovative economy and support high-potential scale-ups. Additional financial investment is a key factor for Airborne to take the next steps in its development of automated and digital production. for advanced composite production systems. I am convinced that these technologies have a significant impact on many applications and industries such as automotive, aerospace and renewable energy and will thus contribute to our economy.”

Airborne is a Dutch company, headquartered in The Hague, specializing in the development and production of advanced composite products as well as automated manufacturing systems for their production.

Towards a sustainable future

Composites are well known in the high tech industry. Complex materials developed by Airborne are used to make planes, satellites and rockets lighter, stronger and safer. Composites also play an important role in enabling renewable energy technologies, such as wind, tidal or solar power and hydrogen storage and transport. Airborne’s advanced materials also help electrify cars, vans, trucks and ships. The interest of composite materials has been recognized for some time. It has superior structural properties, freedom of form, no corrosion, less maintenance and of course is lightweight.

Projects

Airborne is currently working on a series of projects with global partners to drive sustainable innovation. For example, in aerospace, Airborne is involved in several projects aimed at developing new lightweight structures for future electric mobility. With a Dutch consortium involving GKN, Toray, Collins and others, new concepts for thermoplastic composite structures are being developed, focused on the emerging advanced air mobility market, with Airborne focusing on digital and automated technologies to manufacture bespoke blank laminates. With Venturi Aviation, Airborne has set up a partnership to work on the lightweight composite structures of the Echelon 01, a battery-electric regional airliner with a capacity of 44 seats and a range of 500 km, which will be mass-produced from 2029. In addition, Airborne is working on several projects around lightweight composite battery systems, both for aerospace and automotive. The first projects are expected to go into production in 2022.

In another consortium, led by Toray Advanced Composites, Airborne is participating in the development of technologies for future H2 storage tanks for long-haul aircraft. And with VDL Nedcar, a project is launched to explore the technologies needed to electrify the entire mobility sector, from passenger cars to trucks and buses. One of the results will be a flexible battery assembly line, and Airborne will use its “automated programming” technology to create an adaptable manufacturing line, which can adjust on the fly without the need for reprogramming.

All of these projects aim to make mobility more sustainable, by lightening and increasing the performance of vehicles to broaden the range, and reduce waste during manufacturing.

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