Van Buren Township-based engineering, technology, and product innovation company Ricardo Defense Systems today announced the launch of a $7.5 million joint project with Lightweight Manufacturing Innovations for Tomorrow, a Detroit-based Manufacturing USA institute located in Corktown.
The initiative’s goal is to limit risks to soldiers’ wellbeing and ensure mission successes by identifying and deploying new, reliable alternatives to documented braking and stability problems in the current high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle configuration.
Specifically, Ricardo has developed a modified commercial off the shelf anti-breaking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) system for the HMMWV. The system includes ABS and ESC functionality and improved brake calipers, pads, and rotors, which may reduce fatal rollovers by up to 74 percent.
LIFT will help support further development of the Ricardo system, while also examining shedding weight of system components with advanced casting techniques and metal matrix parts. Every pound saved equates to improved mobility performance, fuel economy, and logistics trail on the HMMWVs.
“Ricardo has done tremendous work in developing these systems aimed at solving a critical problem,” says Alan Taub, LIFT’s chief technology officer. “Lightweighting a military platform is of vital importance to our military forces.”
The Ricardo system is currently being piloted in 10 vehicles with the Michigan National Guard, with plans to expand to include production grade components and processes. Military leaders in the Michigan National Guard, as well as other states, say rollovers are a serious threat to military personnel.
“Solving the rollover issue and saving lives is mission critical,” says Chet Gryczan, president of Ricardo Defense Systems. “We’re pleased to be working as a team with LIFT, investigating opportunities for lightweighting while taking the system forward to production.”
As the initiative progresses, training and additional workforce development will be conducted during integration of the brake kits into Michigan National Guard HMMWVs. The team is also working toward building additional test-dedicated vehicles to conduct shake, roll, and abuse tests during road durability evaluations at the Chelsea Proving Grounds.