Fiberforge Corp. (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) has begun production of a new military backpack frame sheet for Mystery Ranch LLC (Bozeman, Mont.), a producer of high-performance survival packs, assault packs and ultralight packs used by military and law enforcement agencies.
Prior to contracting with Fiberforge, Mystery Ranch had fabricated the frame sheet from polyethylene plastic, fabric and aluminum. The polyethylene provided structure and flexibility, while the aluminum stays, which were inserted into fabric sleeves, provided stiffness. Mystery Ranch says the materials, while functional, were heavy and, additionally, made fabrication of the finished frames labor-intensive.
The Fiberforge part, made with unidirectional glass fiber-reinforced thermoplastic, is 43 percent lighter than the part it replaces and is made as a single stamped part with integrated ribs for stiffness. Fiberforge produces the part in 70 seconds vs. the 10- to 12-minute production time Mystery Ranch required to make the previous frame sheet.
Fiberforge is producing the frame adjusters out of a glass fiber and a PET/PU alloy (polyethylene terephthalate blended with polyurethane). Mystery Ranch originally ordered 10,000 parts, but the backpack frame sheets have been so well received in the market that Mystery Ranch reportedly has increased its order to more than 20,000 units.