Medical Devices and Healthcare IT

Technologies for cold weather combat effectiveness demonstrated by DoD

19 December 2023

The Office of the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program showcased technologies that promise to keep servicemembers combat effective in extreme temperatures during a technology demonstration held December 4 through December 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 (DoD’s) Manufacturing Innovation Institute member companies that won the Point-of-Need Manufacturing Challenge held in March by proposing solutions to the DoD’s operational constraints in extreme cold temperatures.

Source: DoDSource: DoD

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.

The technologies showcased at the event included:

Portable manufacturing station for a self-administrable injectable applicator

DEKA Integrated Solutions has developed a 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

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 (PCB), repairing a damaged PCB, 3D printing a replacement mechanical part and manufacturing a customized biomedical brace.

Intrepid Expeditionary 3D Printer

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.

Corsha's Zero-Trust Platform for Machines

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.

Sciperio Austere Bioreactor to produce blood in a forward environment from CONUS cryopreserved starting material

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

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. 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.

For more on the program, visit the DoD website.

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