British-made orange gunk saving lives and taking names

Posted on 19 Aug 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Illuminous “flubber” D3O has been awarded funding from the US Army’s acquisition agency to assess the blunt trauma characteristics of the technology in its prototype Shock Absorbing Helmet System.

The bright orange putty is malleable to the touch but hardens on impact and has been used in a range of applications from Burton ski and snowboard apparel to American football helmets, as well as in products for the MoD and Special Forces.

Helmet systems comprising an Advance Combat Helmet (ACH) are used by several armies around the world, including the US forces.

They have to comply with rigorous safety standards regulating ballistic and blunt force trauma protection. Blunt force trauma is a physical trauma caused by a collision with an object or a surface, which is not penetrating.

Classed as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), it is a global problem for armed forces.

Between 2006 and 2013, 31,000 British soldiers on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered mild TBI, a different version of TBI, resulting in long rehabilitation, compensation and re-training costs.

PEO Soldier will undertake a programme to assess the impact performance of the D3O Shock Absorbing Helmet System technology when fitted into combat helmets and impacted at 14ft/s, according to military standards.

In standard conditions the material’s molecules flow freely, allowing the material to be soft and flexible, but on impact, lock together to dissipate the impact energy and reduce the transmitted force.

CEO Stuart Sawyer said: “We’re a bit like Intel.

“We supply the component, which is then integrated into the product. Like selling the zip for a jacket.”

Mostyn Thomas, D3O’s General Manager said: “D3O’s team of material scientists and engineers is proud to have been selected by PEO Soldier for funding which will evaluate the impact performance of this new shock absorption protection, in response to intense demand from the global defence sector.

“No product commercially available combines a good balance of protection, comfort and weight the Shock Absorbing Helmet System aims to offer.

“D3O has conveyed to this product the R&D expertise it has honed in creating industry-leading protective helmets for the US team sports market, particularly American football and baseball.

“D3O is committed to creating personal protection equipment which will help to reduce the thousands of very common injuries affecting soldiers each year.

Accident Prevention in Manufacturing – Future Factory Series

Adding to the successful Future Factory Series of events, the first annual Accident Prevention in Manufacturing conference brings together senior manufacturers to speak, discuss and understand best practice methods of minimising risks that can occur as a result of poor health and safety culture.

The conference will include presentations from leading British manufacturing companies and will focus on making small and simple changes that result in positive differences to maintain quality, minimise costs, and ensure the highest possible health and safety standards are achieved throughout the business.

By discussing the benefits of successful legislative implementation, effective employee engagement and communication, safe material handling technique and different options for mechanical aids, delegates will learn from leading health and safety specialists with knowledge built from years of experience.

Register for the upcoming event on September 9 in London HERE.