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Contract Awarded to LORD Corporation for MR Suspension Installation and Testing on U.S. Army LMTV

(02/24/2010)

LORD Corporation has teamed with World Technical Services, Inc. (WTSI) for the integration, test and evaluation of a suspension upgrade including their Magneto-Rheological (MR) semi-active damping system for a US Army M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV).

The contract is part of a larger effort by the prime contractor, WTSI, to improve mobility performance of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV). LORD is one of several suppliers of suspension enhancements being evaluated in this effort. The Government does not endorse or support one supplier over the others and will be evaluating all equally. LORD has not to date been chosen for production product. The purpose of the 12-month LORD contract is to install and test the MR Damping system as well as to fully optimize the system control algorithms, while determining optimal leaf spring and torsion-bar configurations. On- and off-road as well as durability testing will be conducted by third-parties including half-rounds, various profiled Root Means Square (RMS) courses, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) lane change maneuvers. These tests are designed to determine actual performance improvements compared to the baseline configuration and will include up to 10,000 miles of endurance and durability testing.

LORD is the technical lead on the MR Suspension project, with responsibility to perform modeling and simulation analyses, hardware build, design integration, installation and testing oversight. Suspension optimization support also will be provided by MillenWorks, a privately-owned small business serving the defense, automotive OEM, and entertainment industries. Further, LORD will provide maintenance support during the vehicle testing of the MR suspension system hardware, which will be subjected to endurance tests per the vehicle mission profile and as defined in the vehicle specification.

According to Steve Hildebrand, LORD Engineering Manager for MR Suspension systems, the system will incorporate LORD Corporation’s latest refinements with respect to the magneto-rheological controllable damping system. The system includes a controller, dampers, sensors, and software that is customized for a vehicle’s characteristics and customer’s performance requirements.

The MR controllable damping systems have been demonstrated as original and retrofit equipment for various military and commercial utility vehicles. Current vehicle applications for the Department of Defense (DOD) and OEMs include several Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), the HMMWV and other confidential customer platforms.

“LORD MR Active Damping Systems are well-suited for a broad range of military applications, from lightweight tactical vehicles to line-haul tractors and heavy MRAP vehicles,” said Hildebrand. “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.”

Unlike traditional passive dampers with fixed characteristics, LORD Corporation’s MR Dampers with patented self-adapting control algorithms are fully adaptive and react nearly instantaneously to changes in terrain, vehicle maneuvers and payload. Further, MR Controllable Damping Systems enable simplified suspension geometries with weight reduction and increased payload without reducing mobility. In fact, according to Hildebrand, one recent application demonstrated doubling of the payload.

“The resulting improved dynamic stability and ride quality have demonstrated significant benefits to our warfighters,” said Jesse DePriest, LORD Business Development Manager.

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