STILFOLD steps into space through strategic collaboration with ISAAC
The Swedish steel innovator STILFOLD aims for space through a strategic collaboration with the Swedish space company ISAAC (International Space Asset Acceleration Company), which includes astronaut Christer Fuglesang. The goal is to find new applications for its origami-inspired manufacturing process, which has several unique properties that lend themselves very well to the extreme demands placed on transportation and construction in space.
Origami and space have been linked for a long time. The Japanese art of folding forms of paper has been an inspiration for both how to efficiently pack things to be transported into space and constructions on site. Swedish STILFOLD, which uses an origami-like process to bend and fold structures made of steel and other space-adapted metallic materials, is therefore a potentially highly interesting technology to use in space.
- We are constantly looking for new ways to utilize the full potential of our technology, but exploring the possibilities of taking the concept into space still feels like something extra exciting, says Jonas Nyvang, co-founder of STILFOLD.
Through the collaboration with ISAAC, which is backed by the European Space Agency (ESA), STILRIDE gains access to a large network of know-how and contacts specialized in space travel and the very special requirements that are set. The potential is great, not least because STILFOLD makes it possible to easily bend and fold steel and other metallic materials on site, thereby reducing or removing the need for welding. Since the starting point is that there is the possibility that the digital value chain provides a completely different flexibility compared to already completed constructions.
- Space travel places very high demands on both a low weight and volume of the material being transported. All ways to streamline and improve are of great interest to the industry as a whole, says Cecilia Hertz, co-founder of ISAAC
STILFOLD's unique manufacturing technology also has other advantages that can be extra interesting in the extreme environments that space offers. Constructions that fold and bend over curves generally require less material to achieve the same strength in the construction. Potentially, shapes can also be folded over several times, which provides maximum utilization of the raw material.
For STILFOLD, the collaboration also means an opportunity to find new applications of its unique manufacturing technology.
- In the quest to find materials and solutions that have as little environmental impact as possible, it is also incredibly exciting with all the research and innovation that has taken place and is taking place around space travel, and we expect to be able to take advantage of that network of contacts to further broaden the application area for STILFOLD, continues Jonas Nyvang.
Under the project title "Space for Agenda 2030", the Swedish space company ISAAC helps companies and organizations achieve sustainability goals and strengthen their innovative power on earth by matching its specific challenges with existing, but often hidden, knowledge from space .
- The results of the extremely advanced work that goes into getting us into space is knowledge and technology that can also be used to create better conditions for us humans on our beautiful blue planet," says Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, co-owner and senior advisor to ISAAC