Summary: If the eight person team behind the new startup Hadrian has their way, they’ll have transformed the manufacturing industry within the next decade.
Original author and publication date: Jonathan Shieber, April 15, 2021
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: There was a time when ship building companies reigned supreme. Now, it is the time for space ships building companies to reign.
From the article:
At least, that’s the goal for the new San Francisco-based startup, founded only last year, which has set its sights on building out a new model for advanced manufacturing to enable the satellite, space ship, and advanced energy technology companies to build the future they envision better and faster.
“We view our job as to provide the world’s most efficient space and defense component factory,” said Hadrian founder, Chris Power.
Initially, the company is building factories to make the parts that go on rocket ships, according to Power, but the business has implications for any company that needs bespoke components to make their equipment.
“Let me tell you how bad it is at the moment and what’s going to happen over the next 20 years. Right now everyone in space and defense, [including] SpaceX and Lockheed Martin, outsources their parts and manufacturing to small factories across the country. They’re super expensive, they’re unreliable and they’re completely invisible to the customers,” said Power.
“This causes big problems with space and defense manufacturers in the design phase, because the lead time is so long and the iteration time is super long. Imagine running software and being able to iterate on your product once every 20 days? If you can imagine a Gantt chart of how to build a rocket, about 60% of that is buffer time… A lot of the delays in launches and stuff like that happen because parts got delivered three months ago. It’d be like running a McDonalds and realizing that your fries and burger providers could not tell you when the food would arrive.”
It’s hard to overstate the strategic importance of the parts suppliers to the operations of aerospace, defense, and advanced machining companies. As no less an authority on manufacturing than Elon Musk noted in a tweet, “The factory is the product.” It’s also hard to overstate the geopolitical importance of re-establishing the U.S. as a center of manufacturing excellence, according to Hadrian’s investors Lux Capital, Founders Fund, and Construct Capital. Which is one reason why they’re investing $9.5 million into the very early stage business.
“America made massive strategic mistakes in the early 90s which have left our national manufacturing ecosystem completely dilapidated,” said Founders Fund principal Delian Asparouhov. “
The only way to get out of this disaster is to re-invent the most basic input into our aerospace and defense supply chains, machining metal parts quickly and with high tolerance. Right now, America’s most innovative company, SpaceX, relies on a network of near-retired machinists to produce space-worthy metal parts, and no one in technology is. focused on solving this.”