Around 4300 new mine-resistant (MRAP) all-terrain vehicles (M-ATVs) will be
delivered to the U.S. Armed Forces with blast-resistant floors to protect against
improved explosive devices (IEDs). Urgently needed in Afghanistan, the new
M-ATVs, built by Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., use patented plastic cushioning
panels that reportedly provide 71% reduction in blast force transmitted
through the floor. The panels consist of TPU sheets that are twin-sheet thermoformed into a patented twin-hemisphere structure resembling eggshells cut in
half and joined end to end. The formed parts are covered on top by cast thermoset
urethane sheets that are adhesive bonded to the twin hemispheres.
The plastic protective flooring was developed by Skydex Technologies,
Centennial, Colo. It has used the twin-hemisphere technology in a variety of
military, athletic, marine, and industrial cushioning applications since 2005.
Blast-resistant fl ooring has been used in five different military vehicles for up to
three years but not previously publicized.
Skydex farms out production of the cushioning to custom manufacturers
throughout the U.S. According to president and CEO Michael Buchen and chief
technology offi cer Peter Foley, it took some effort to obtain suitable TPU sheet:
“We needed a higher level of uniformity,” said Foley. There was also a substantial
early learning curve for forming the twin hemispheres.
Skydex chose TPU for its temperature and abrasion resistance. Its products can
also use TPV or EVA and a hardness range from 87 Shore A to 55D. Some products, such as military helmet pads, are blow molded into twin hemispheres using a pinched-parison technique.
(303) 790-4003 • skydex.com