The Office of the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program showcased technologies that will keep servicemembers combat effective in extreme temperatures during a technology demonstration Dec. 4 -8 at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The event, which ManTech held with support from the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, featured technologies generated by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Innovation Institute member companies that won the Point-of-Need Manufacturing Challenge held in March by proposing solutions to the Department’s operational constraints in extreme cold temperatures.
The six project demonstrations exhibited systems that could be deployed in a cold weather environment, closing supply chain gaps and enabling warfighters to manufacture and use critical equipment on demand in the harshest environments. The technologies were tested by members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and Army National Guard. The technology featured in the event was manufactured using the following processes:
- Circuit Card Repair and Medical Brace Additive Manufacturing
- Cold Spray Metal Additive Manufacturing
- Metal Additive Manufacturing
- Blood On-Demand
- Therapeutic Agent Delivery System, a system that enables vaccines, medicine, and nutrition delivery to warfighters
- Cybersecurity for manufacturing systems including robotics and AM equipment
Defense officials from partner nations joined senior civilian and military leaders from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, military services, defense agencies, and Army National Guard to observe the event, underscoring the Pentagon’s priority to deliver cutting edge technology to the joint force.
“We don’t fight alone”, said Army Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight, the Vermont National Guard’s Adjutant General. “The partnerships are key.”
Other leaders who attended the event included Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology Dr. Steven Wax, DEVCOM deputy commanding general, Brig. Gen. David Trybula, and DOD ManTech Director Tracy Frost, who congratulated the developers on their accomplishments advancing defense technologies to meet the warfighters needs.
“Material performance in the cold is different,” said Wax. “We must understand this to adapt to support current operations.”
The Point of Need challenge winners have proven to be champions of research and innovation and are helping to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Ensuring the security of our nation requires providing the warfighter with a robust toolset in all environments.
“We don’t want ‘home games,’ which is why we prepare to operate in all environments,” Trybula said.
The members of the MIIs demonstrated rapid innovative solutions to challenging warfighter requirements. ManTech is investing nearly $2.5 million, while industry partners are contributing close to $700,000 in cost share. The technologies showcased at the event included:
Portable Manufacturing Station for a Self-Administrable Injectable Applicator
- MII: BioFabUSA; Manchester, N.H.
- Prime: DEKA Integrated Solutions; Manchester, N.H.
DEKA has developed a novel, hollow-microneedle-based intradermal delivery applicator for self-administering therapeutic agents. Through the DOD grant, DEKA will further the development of a portable, rugged manufacturing station that can fill the required therapeutic agent at a forward-operating base and then send the applicator forward to warfighters to administer vaccines and other needed therapeutic agents. This portable manufacturing station enables the low-cost, quick, and effective administration of needed therapeutic agents for viruses, allergens, and emerging threats without the need for skilled medical personnel in the field. A less-rugged version of this same manufacturing station can be used in a just-in-time manufactured hub-and-spoke distribution system to serve civilian needs across the United States.
Austere nField Repair
- MII: NextFlex; San Jose, Calif.
- Prime: nScrypt; Orando, Fla.
Using the nRugged™ tool, an integrated and rugged “factory in a box,” the project employs additive electronics and mechanical part manufacturing to replace and repair damaged hardware at austere points of need. Ultimately, nScrypt will demonstrate four stages of functionality: fabricating a replacement electronic printed circuit board, repairing a damaged printed circuit board, 3D printing a replacement mechanical part, and manufacturing a customized biomedical brace.
Intrepid Expeditionary 3D Printer
- MII: America Makes; Youngstown, Ohio
- Prime: Craitor; San Diego, Calif.
The Intrepid Expeditionary 3D Printer can print critical parts in the field. This project, led by Craitor, will utilize current capabilities as the foundation to de-risk manufacturing at the point of need through established standards and procedures and to form a framework for future manufacturing ecosystems. The project will occur over five phases with the objective of improving the confidence of operators, reducing the risk for prime manufacturers, and increasing the investment in the digital ecosystem by existing original equipment manufacturers.
Securing the Digital Backbone with Corsha’s Zero-Trust Platform for Machines
- MII: ARM; Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Prime: Corsha; Vienna, Va.
The Corsha platform manages cybersecurity challenges by addressing security limitations and providing zero-trust network access, even to legacy manufacturing equipment, thereby mitigating the risk of a security breach by implementing an additional, out-of-band layer of access control.
Demonstration of Use of Sciperio Austere Bioreactor to Produce Blood in a Forward Environment from CONUS Cryopreserved Starting Material
- MII: BioFabUSA; Manchester, N.H.
- Prime: Safi Biotherapeutics; Cambridge, Mass.
The ability to “manufacture” blood on demand and near the point of conflict eliminates both source and logistics concerns. This program leverages the current On-Demand Blood Program awarded to Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and demonstrates the ability to deliver cryopreserved blood precursor cells that transport in a fraction of the volume of blood bags (think 1,000 units in an ammo box), and expansion and manufacture of blood on-site in an austere-capable bioreactor.
Expeditionary Manufacturing Unit for Battlefield Repair and Readiness
- MII: LIFT; Detroit, Mich.
- Prime: SPEE3D; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and Wilmington, Del.
SPEE3D’s 3D Metal Printing Technology is an industry proven, military tested, expeditionary, all-in-one solution. The system uses existing cold spray technology to create complex 3D parts quickly. SPEE3D’s technology has been demonstrated in operations in hot and hot-humid environments, including work with the United Kingdom and Australian militaries, the U.S. Navy Repair Technology Exercise 2022, and the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2022. The project goal is to successfully 3D-print metal parts in a sub-freezing environment that is equivalent in quality to the same parts printed, on the same technology, in a lab environment.
The DOD ManTech Program comprises investment programs operated out of the U.S. Military Services, Defense Logistics Agency, Missile Defense Agency, and OSD.
The OSD ManTech office is responsible for administering the DOD ManTech Program and manages two investment portfolios: the Manufacturing Science and Technology Program, and the DOD MIIs. The charter of these public-private partnerships is to advance research and development to promote innovation while modernizing U.S. military capabilities; grow manufacturing ecosystems to enhance the Nation’s competitiveness; and further education and workforce development for the jobs of the future.