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Enabling Hybridized Manufacturing Process for Lightweight Body Armor

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OBJECTIVE

Provide the development, integration, and deployment of new scalable manufacturing technologies to enable lighter body armor by exploiting advances in both multi-scale material and process technologies.

HOW IT'S ACCOMPLISHED

• Developed first-of-a-kind semi-automated machines at a contractor site neutral site to enable technology demonstration, integration, and transfer to U.S. body armor industrial base
• Served as objective technology integrator and conducted testing of assembled body armor materials into both sub-scale and full-scale test specimens for correlation with materials and process parameters
• Aggressively sought alternative and novel technologies to improve ceramic, composite, and integration of materials by innovative treatment and co-processing of dissimilar materials

ACHIEVEMENTS

• Developed new process methods to enable improved compositions of B4C and SIC ceramics, including novel blends, which in combination with novel composite backing technologies have demonstrated a cumulative weight reduction in flat plate (non-curved) armor systems
• 20% reduction in dynamic Backface Deformation (BFD) using a combination of novel ply architecture and a semiautomated Dissimilar Materials Assembly System to fabricate Dyneema and Spectra composite backings for ceramic body armor plates
• Demonstrated preliminary 10% ESAPI weight reduction in an Independent ballistic testing laboratory. Weight reduction was from 5.45 lbs. to 4.9 lbs. In a size medium ESAPI plate

BENEFITS

• Demonstrated risk reduction of novel ballistic ceramic blends and processes
• 20-30% touch labor reduction by the development and implementation of automated and semi-automated material handling and stacking technologies
• Semi-automation and integrated batch operations allow for 15-30% reduction in assembly cycle time
• Enabling material and process technologies for 10% lighter ESAPI (Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert) body armor systems

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