The July/Aug 2014 issue of the Army Technology Magazine focuses on additive manufacturing within the Army and other services. Want more 3D? Check out America Makes.
Supports reduction in production risks and manufacturing costs throughout the weapons system life cycle
"$62,287K (FY17 PB Request)
Close Coordination with Transition Stakeholders on Cost, Schedule, Performance, and Transition. Transition planning is central to successful implementation.
Investment Portfolio Areas:
- Ground Maneuver
- Command, Control, Communications & Intelligence
- Innovation Enablers
Proposals are submitted through Army S&T and PEO organizations to the U.S. Army RDECOM.
ManTech for Advanced Nanocomposite Coatings
Wear of mechanical and optical weapon systems components affects readiness and maintenance. Advanced nanocomposite coatings have shown promise of reducing weapon system sustainment costs. The objective of this Army ManTech project was to improve manufacturing processes to efficiently implement nanocrystalline diamond/amorphous carbon coatings on critical Army components. This process results in reduced friction and increased wear performance of up to 200% while improving corrosion resistance on mechanical parts.
ManTech Improvements to the Conformable Wearable Battery (CWB) System
The Conformable Wearable Battery (CWB) is a rechargeable power source for the Army’s Nett Warrior Soldier System. The thinness of the profile and it flexibility allows the battery to be carried in a various places on the soldier thus making it highly ergonomic in nature. This project reduced the unit price of the battery by leaning out the manufacturing process, reducing scrap/rework and reducing the overall bill of materials.
Affordable Chemical/Biological Resistant Fabric
This Army ManTech project developed a CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) resistant fabric manufacturing process that meets the weight goal and enables the material to be produced large scale. The primary benefit to the warfighter is the elimination of added weight and bulk associated with CBRN shelter liners. The project reduced the cost of producing the material from $80 per square yard to $35 per square yard.
Low Light Level Sensors
Night vision devices are crucial to soldiers in combat across all kinds of mission. This Army ManTech Project would reduce the cost by greater than 75% as well as decrease life cycle costs of the digital sensors. The increased performance and reliability of the sensor system achieved has already resulted in user acceptance and a multitude of cross service transition paths, including the Apache and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The project reduced the sensor cost by over 60%.
Chip Scale Atomic Clock
The objective of this DMS&T/Army project was to develop high volume manufacturing processes to reduce unit cost for CSACs. The warfighter benefit is through maintaining the integrity with the network. The ManTech investment achieved a reduction in manufacturing costs to $200 per unit for production volumes and increased production capability to over 40,000 units per year.
Enabling Hybridized Manufacturing Process For Lightweight Body Armor
This Army ManTech and DMS&T program created new, high risk approaches in the process and manufacture of body armor materials to reduce weight. The benefits include enhancing soldier mobility, endurance, and readiness – especially in extreme environments. Specific benefits from the ManTech investment include 10% reduction over current body armor systems and reduced weight from 5.45 lbs to 4.5 lbs for each medium size body armor plate.
Multi-Purpose Warhead Manufacturing
The objective of this Army ManTech project was to demonstrate manufacturing processes for multi-purpose warheads to decrease labor time, wasted material, and life cycle costs for current and next generation small precision munitions. The expected warfighter benefits are providing affordable multi-purpose warheads needed to enable current and future tactical missile systems with the capability of defeating Explosive Reactive Armor Protected Tanks, Soft Targets, and Military Operations on urban terrain targets. This project was a $16.3 M ROI – 3.8:1.
Manufacturing Technology for Energy Efficient Expedient Shelters
Current insulation technologies for military tents were not thermal efficient and increased weight and pack size. This project investigated potential manufacturing methods to improve tent insulation technology which improved the liner system and was implemented on 59 Force Provider equipped base camps. This new insulation technology provides significant energy savings and gives soldiers a higher quality of life due to better climate control and ease of shelter set up.
Cost Improvement of Solventless Propellants
The objective of this project was to replace the labor intensive manufacturing operations of a new solventless propellant, PAP8386, which meets ballistic requirements, environmental gains and improved safety.
Cost Improvement of IMX-104 Explosive Formulation
This project optimized a new manufacturing processes to shorten the cycle time and subsequently lower the cost of the IMX-104 explosive formation, which supports the production of the 81mm High Explosive Mortar. The project will reduce the cost per pound of material by over $10.00 which calculates a ROI of 52:1.
Additive Manufacturing and Quick Tooling for Injection Molding
Colorimetric Reconnaissance Explosive Squad Screening (CRESS) kits allow warfighters to accurately detect homemade explosive components. The kits were being made with traditional injection molding tools, however, tool complexity and long fabrication lead times made prototyping and design iterations for testing purposes lengthy and cost-prohibitive. This project reduced cost and time to prototype new products.
Improved Manufacturing Technology for Insensitive Munition Ingredients
Nitrotriazolone (NTO) is a key ingredient to produce insensitive explosive formulations for insensitive munitions (IM). But the NTO process is not fully optimized and has a high unit cost. IM has become a high priority to replace or improve legacy end items to be more insensitive to indirect / direct threats but retain or improve lethality. This project optimized the manufacturing process for NTO to increase yield without affecting quality. The result of this ManTech effort led to an increase in NTO yield up to 10%. The production costs of NTO started at $15/lb to $13.5lb, so this results in a cost avoidance of $3.2M.
Low Cost Zinc Sulfide (ZnS) Missile Dome Manufacturing
This project successfully incorporated the use of applied physics, chemistry, materials science, and manufacturing engineering to derive state of the art manufacturing capability for growing and finishing material that is strong, efficient, and affordable. The results of the ManTech program can apply to multiple facilities across the United States, which have made significant findings in the reactions of ZnS material to different manufacturing processes and has enabled the DoD to purchase ZnS domes for less cost. The discoveries from this program have resulted in a 65% cost reduction as well as a 65% lead time improvement.
Transparent Spinel Armor Manufacturing Scale-Up
Transparent spinel armor windows provide lighter weight and improved ballistic protection for tactical vehicles. They have demonstrated multi-hit performance at weights and thicknesses less than currently deployed glass-based transparent armor.
CH-47 Composite Tunnel Cover for Aviation Composite Structures
There are six (6) tunnel covers on each CH-47, all of which utilize rivets and metal bonding which relies heavily on surface preparation and experiences corrosion issues. The covers also suffer from poor fit up, seals that are difficult to replace and limitations on step zones for mechanics to perform routine maintenance. This project demonstrated an improved composite structure that was designed to reduce weight, increase durability and reduce acquisition and life cycle costs associated with the CH-47 Tunnel Covers.
Spider Grenade Initiation Module (GIM)
The objective of the Spider (GIM) was to automate the process to make it more producible and reduce labor costs. The project increased production line first pass yield rate from 89% to 97%, increased production rate from 20 units per hour to 50 units per hour (150% increase) and reduced production cost by 40%. This resulted in a more affordable, efficient, and reliable manufacturing process. Cost savings to date include 390k with a projection of 1.21M through FY13.
Energy Storage Manufacturing – High Power, High Energy Density Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Batteries
Lithium Ion batteries manufacturing costs were high and power density inadequate for Army applications. This project has made significant improvements to the batteries and has been implemented on numerous weapon systems and high pulse power applications. The project established an automated Li-Ion battery manufacturing process within the United States and increased power density for multiple systems.
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