Waterjets Help make Vehicles Bullet-Proof

Waterjets Help make Vehicles Bullet-Proof

Flow waterjets
Flow waterjets at Armorstruxx help keep U.S. soldiers safe.

U.S. Military Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles being used in Iraq and Afghanistan are withstanding the impact of bullets and blasts from explosives better because of waterjet cutting technology and other technology from ArmorStruxx of Lodi, Calif.

ArmorStruxx develops proprietary materials for customers that include the military, aerospace and commercial vehicle manufactures, the building construction industry and municipalities.

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are a new class of heavy military vehicles designed for frontline transport.

They are fitted with armor plating to protect their occupants. The armor plating is made of Kevlar, some of which is hybridized with S-glass, mounted to ballistic-grade aluminum or to hard steel armor plate. ArmorStruxx produces custom armor panels for these vehicles with waterjet systems from Flow International (www.flowcorp.com).

When fabricating the armor panels, ArmorStruxx produces the Kevlar armor material on site and cuts the composite material to size from 5-ft. by 10-ft. master panels. It also cuts mounting holes for various armor panels that are installed on the vehicles.

The shop does this fabrication on its seven IFB waterjet machines that have 87,000-psi cutting and use Dynamic Waterjet technology, and on one IFB machine that has 60,000-psi cutting.

All ArmorStruxx’s Flow waterjets run three shifts per day, seven days a week, and at the peak of its production ramp last month, the shop was shipping 35 vehicle sets per day to support two different MRAP vehicle platforms.

“The waterjet has proven to be the ideal cutting tool, especially in cutting the Kevlar composite material for the MRAP vehicles,” Joe Felts, vice president of operations for ArmorStruxx, said.

“This material quickly dulls any other type of cutting tool, and the abrasive waterjet machines cut continuously through the composite material, which is significant for our operations,” he added.

In addition to developing proprietary materials, ArmorStruxx cuts parts from a wide array of materials, including HJ1, T-Flex, ceramics, Spectra, Hexform, Kevlar, 0-90 E and S glasses, 2-in. phenolic E-glass and others.

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