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Contract Awarded to LORD Corporation for Evaluation of MR Suspension System on HMMWV

(12/11/2009)

LORD Corporation has received a contract from the U.S. Army Materiel Command for the test and evaluation of their proprietary Magneto-Rheological (MR) semi-active suspension systems for the HMMWV.

The scope of work includes the integration, testing and evaluation of LORD Corporation's MR active damping technology for a suspension system on a M1152 HMMWV. This system will incorporate LORD Corporation's latest refinements with respect to the magneto-rheological controllable damping system. The objective is to determine the impact of a matured LORD MR Semi-Active Suspension System (MR Suspension) on the HMMWV with respect to performance, cost, space-claim, weight and feasibility of retrofit to the family of legacy HMMWV vehicles.

On- and off-road as well as durability testing will be conducted by a third-party and will include the evaluation of half-round, various profiled Root Means Square (RMS) courses, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) lane change maneuvers. Following the performance tests, LORD will provide maintenance support during the vehicle testing of the MR suspension system hardware, which will be subjected to endurance tests of the MR suspension system per the vehicle mission profile and as defined in the vehicle specification.

LORD Corporation's MR suspension systems have already been demonstrated as original and retrofit equipment for various military and commercial utility vehicles. Current projects include work with the U.S. government and vehicle OEMs on several vehicle platforms including the FMTV and MRAP. According to Steve Hildebrand, LORD Engineering Manager for MR suspension systems, LORD MR suspension systems are well-suited for a wide range of military applications, from lightweight tactical vehicles to line-haul tractors and heavy MRAP vehicles.

"These systems have already been demonstrated on a wide variety of military vehicles and the results are positive. Vehicles outfitted with our system experience less wear and tear, leading to longer vehicle life without reducing fuel efficiency. Our product enables greater stability and vehicle body control, allowing increased safety for the driver and occupants, and significantly improved ride quality," said Hildebrand.

Unlike traditional passive suspensions with fixed characteristics, LORD Corporation's controllable MR suspension systems react nearly instantaneously to both changes in terrain and vehicle dynamic maneuvers, allowing the suspension to adapt its characteristics to the situation. This provides improved dynamic stability over passively damped systems, providing significant benefits. The system includes a controller, dampers, sensors, and software that can be tuned to optimize the vehicle's performance.

In response to market interest for their MR suspension system, LORD recently completed the expansion of a 1,000-square-foot production cell within their Cambridge Springs, Pa. plant. The cell is believed to be the first of its kind related to heavy-duty MR dampers for military and heavy trucks in the world.