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Hall Of Famer starts with $1000 capital in 1989

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Advanced Ceramic Research, Inc.
Tucson, AZ 85706

Highlights: Successful acquisition by BAE Systems

Founded in 1989, Advanced Ceramic Research, Inc. (ACR) develops state-of-the-art high temperature, high strength ceramic materials and innovative processes. ACR’s first revenues came from the US Government’s SBIR Program and $1,000 in start-up capital. Within six months, ACR had secured a Phase II SBIR contract for $500,000 from the US Naval Surface Warfare Center. Funding from the Navy had been critical in helping ACR become what it is today. As Anthony Mulligan, president of ACR, said, “The Navy’s support has been invaluable to ACR. We could not have attained the technical superiority we enjoy today without Navy funding.” Since 1989, ACR has received nearly $6 million in SBIR/ STTR funding that has led to over $30 million in follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funding and an additional $35 million in signed license and technology transfer contracts. Much of the early follow-on funding was federal research dollars from the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Department of Energy. Now a majority of it comes from defense prime contractors and Fortune 500 companies. ACR has grown in size from three employees in 1990 to over 40 in 1999. Revenues have grown by 2,000%, and ACR was listed by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing businesses for 1993 to 1997.

 ACR has concentrated on two main business areas: Fibrous Monoliths (FM) and Rapid Prototyping/Rapid Manufacturing (RP/RM). FM composite ceramics are a novel class of high strength, high temperature composite materials that are manufactured using a patented process. This technology originated from ACR’s first SBIR award during which it drew upon the research expertise at the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, and the growing technology base of Tucson to address the increasing need for more economical high temperature, wear resistant components for aerospace and defense applications. Some of ACR’s most successful commercial transitions have come from its FM materials. ACR recently signed a 10-year, multi-million dollar license agreement with Smith International, Inc. for the use of this technology to improve the efficiency of oil and rock drilling. ACR and Smith believe that the FM technology will increase tool life many-fold and allow Smith and ACR to garner millions of dollars in additional revenue and increased market share. Over 12 years, ACR has established close business relationships with corporations such as Honeywell, Smith International, Raytheon, Lockheed, Kyocera, Phelps Dodge, Inco Mines, IBM, Seagate, Thiokol, Alliant Tech, Aerojet, Varian, General Electric, and BF Goodrich.


Advanced Ceramic Research, Inc.
3292 E. Hemisphere Loop
Tucson, AZ 85706
Phone: 520-573-6300

Funding Agency

Department of Defense

Advanced Ceramic Research, Inc.


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