INTER Materials wins U.S. Army achievement award for thermoplastic helmets

INTER Materials has developed a thermoplastic-based composites technology for use in new high-ballistic performance helmets and received a 2011 U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research Achievement Award.

INTER Materials LLC (Midlothian, Va., USA) announced on May 31 that the company is a recipient of the 2011 U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Achievement Award for its low-cost manufacturing technology of high-ballistic performance helmets. The Achievement Awards were presented by Dr. Scott Fish, U.S. Army chief scientist, at a ceremony May 20 at the Pentagon Conference Center in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Francisco Folgar and his wife Mila Folgar accepted on behalf of INTER Materials. INTER Materials technology was one of eleven SBIR Phase II projects selected by the Army out of 649 eligible companies for this award, which recognizes companies for their significant contributions to the Army mission and potential for commercialization.

INTER Materials has developed a manufacturing process suited for thermoplastic matrix composite materials that provides superior ballistic performance and significant weight reduction compared to ballistic helmets at a production rate comparable to the current process used for the incumbent Advanced Combat Helmet. This technology uses 70 to 80 percent of the current helmet manufacturing infrastructure, resulting in a reduction of the investment risk when adopting a new helmet system and increasing the potential for transition to commercialization.

This helmet technology also offers potential for the use of thermoplastic matrix composite materials in other Department of Defense armoring applications, including military vehicles, aircraft and personal protective equipment. A separate SBIR Phase II Program was successfully completed in 2010 for the development of technology to increase the abrasion- and scratch-resistant properties of large polycarbonate and acrylic windows for helicopters using plasma coatings. The company engineered a surface coating process by incorporating a multi-layer film coating using plasma deposition processes to custom design the adhesion, hardness and erosion/abrasion resistance properties of metals, glasses and transparent plastics such as polycarbonate and acrylics.

“INTER Materials is honored to receive this recognition by the U.S. Army. The success of this program is attributed to the hard work and dedication of our INTER Materials team, the support received from the group at the US Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, the efforts of our contracting officer technical representative Dr. Shawn Walsh and Dr. Brian Scott, the guidance of Dr. James Zheng, chief scientist at PEO Soldier, and the assistance of MILCOM Venture Partners. We are proud to be a part of the Army’s objective in lightening the load carried by the Warfighter,” said Dr. Folgar, president of INTER Materials.