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Optisys CEO on the Lucrative 3D Printing Market

By Jeffrey Hill | August 31, 2018

Optisys CEO Clinton Cathey. Photo: Optisys

Optisys is an aerospace company that specializes in the use of metal 3D printing to design and manufacture highly integrated antenna structures. By using 3D printing techniques, the company hopes to build the lightest weight and smallest volume physically possible.

Optisys Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Clinton Cathey is leading the company’s efforts. He and his team at Optisys are targeting a wide variety of customers in communications markets such as smallSat, satcom, man-packable, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and radar. Cathey asserts that Optisys is first-to-market with additive manufactured Radio Frequency (RF) components, and poised to capture a significant portion of the weight-sensitive market. The antenna component markets alone could carry a market value of near $7 billion, of which Optisys conservatively anticipates obtaining over $150 million annually during the next five years. During Optisys’ first three years of operation, the component level parts will be systematically expanded to develop full system level antennas to address each of the identified markets. The antenna systems developed will also be designed for dual-use military and commercial operations, which Cathey believes will address a market with a total size of $44 billion.

Via Satellite briefly chatted with Cathey about the launch of Optisys and how it plans to establish itself in a lucrative market, following his appearance at the Startup Space competition at Satellite 2018.

Via Satellite: What inspired the launch of Optisys?

Cathey: As founders, we were inspired by the need for high-performance, lightweight communications equipment on one hand, and the exciting opportunities of 3D printing. Optisys provides the lowest possible size and weight RF structures for multiple markets such as small satellites, man-portable systems, and UAV markets. Our manufacturing process also provides short lead time products for the ground station market.

Via Satellite: What would you describe as the company’s greatest asset?

Cathey: In addition to weight savings and RF performance, Optisys’ greatest asset is the team’s experience with antenna systems and data link design. Knowing the context and operations that a design will be used in, improves the design and prioritizes design requirements.

Via Satellite: What do you feel are your most important accomplishments since the launch of the company?

Cathey: I am most proud of Optisys’ ability to reduce to practice new designs not previously possible. 3D printing in metal is a relatively new manufacturing process and the possibilities for new RF structures is endless.

Via Satellite: What excites you most about leading a company that is working in a relatively new medium like 3D printing?

Cathey: I am most excited about the platforms we have an opportunity to work with — small satellites in deep space, Department of Defense (DOD) programs, and commercial platforms.