VRC Metal Systems, LLC was started in January 2013 by Rob Hrabe and Christian Widener. The company was founded after obtaining an exclusive license for the commercialization of the patent pending feature for hand-held high pressure cold spray. Both Widener and Hrabe participated in the development of the patent under funding from the Army Research Lab with collaborators Victor Champagne and Dennis Helfritch. The patent was licensed by VRC after a joint ownership agreement between the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and the Army Research Laboratory was completed.
The system was developed specifically for providing agile, high quality repairs to DoD weapon systems for the war fighter at Air Force bases and forward operating locations, so the hand-held capability and mobility of the system were important design features. Two specific components identified for such a need were equipment access panels and hydraulic lines on the B-1 bomber. Since that time, VRC has expanded it’s offerings to include complete turn-key cold spray systems, including both additive and subtractive systems. VRC also remains heavily involved in developing cold spray and advanced manufacturing solutions for the Department of Defense as well as commercial clients. Because of our early successes, VRC Metal Systems tied for 1st place in the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision business competition and was also awarded the Blacks Hills Start-up of the Year in 2015.
Today, VRC is a strong company that is growing rapidly, and we have well positioned to lead the global cold spray market. There are now a large number of parts that have been successfully repaired and returned to service in the Department of Defense using the VRC Gen III cold spray system. While the development of repair applications is on-going in aerospace and defense, the company is expanding the use of its technologies to a growing number of commercial entities for use in both industrial repair and novel manufacturing process applications.