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Every officer with the Miami Police Department received a new protective Armor Express 2A Kevlar vest on Thursday.

According to MPD Captain Thomas Anderson the officers each receive a new I every five years which is the duration of the vests’ warranty. Twenty officers got new vests this week and four newer police officers received their vests when they were hired. Most patrol officers now use similar types of vests for ballistic protection.

“We don’t want our officers to wear them past warranty with their safety in mind,” Anderson said. “The City of Miami has always taken officer safety very seriously and provided the vests.”

Each officer was individually measured and sized by Armor Express a few weeks ago and fitted again on Thursday when the vests arrived for a customized fit for comfort and safety.

Anderson said the vests were paid for as a routine department budget expense. Each officer’s vest cost from $550 to $600.

“The expense is absolutely well worth it,” Anderson said. “It’s peace of mind and safety. Countless officers have been saved by wearing vests nationwide. It’s a critical piece of the uniform.”

The new vests are lightweight, highly effective and more comfortable and have adjustable covers and shock plates to protect the vital organs of the officers in case of a shooting. Anderson said the vests weigh about 20 pounds and are required pieces of equipment for Miami officers.

“It’s mandatory here, but I think all of the officers would wear them by choice,” he said.

The fibers in these vests help trap bullets and the force is spread out over a greater area, causing the bullet to stop within the material. The body under the vest is still impacted by the force generated by the bullet. Anderson said in the past a similar type vest worn by MPD Officer Mike Brashears helped protect the officer in a 2010 shooting incident after responding to a report of a husband-wife domestic disturbance at the Chisholm Trail Apartments in in Miami.

Some of the older vests which are still appropriately usable will be donated to other police departments for use such as the Quapaw Police Department, according to Anderson.

EnGarde body armor is showcasing some of its newest and most innovative products at INFOPOL in Kortrijk, Belgium, on April 21-23. INFOPOL is the regional trade show for police and security equipment for all of Benelux, a region composed of the three neighboring countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Every two years the region’s most technologically advanced companies come together to show off products in areas such as personal protection, advanced armament, communications equipment and traffic surveillance.

It’s with a new sense of urgency that EnGarde will be showcasing its full range of soft armor panels including the ULTRA™, FLEX-PRO™ and MT-PRO™ lines at INFOPOL 2015. Along with the new soft armor panels, EnGarde will be highlighting its tactical body armor, hard armor inserts and ballistic helmets.

EnGarde’s tactical armor products, particularly those capable of accepting hard armor inserts, have garnered renewed interest from law enforcement agencies in Belgium. Police in that normally peaceful country responded to a terrorism incident where they were met with high-powered AK-47 rifle fire from Islamic militants. After further investigation it was discovered that the perpetrators were also planning attacks on police stations.

Several local departments in Belgium turned to EnGarde to modernize their tactical armor capabilities. Reviews of body armor preparedness revealed that many departments were using protective equipment that was outdated or not sufficient to meet current threats.

“We have responded to a number of inquiries from regional law enforcement agencies in the wake of recent events,” confirmed Iwan Luiten, Marketing Manager of EnGarde. “Several agencies have expressed interest in our body armor, particularly configurations capable of withstanding high powered rifle fire and grenade fragments.”

It’s with that backdrop that EnGarde brings its product line to meet law enforcement professionals from around the region at INFOPOL. Whether departments need highly concealable body armor that can be worn with cool comfort for extended periods of time or tactical hard body armor capable of dealing with that most powerful weapons carried by terrorists, EnGarde has them covered.

Anyone interested in seeing EnGarde flexible armor panels or tactical hard armor is invited to stop by booth number 284 at INFOPOL 2015 for a personal introduction.

DSM Dyneema’s efforts in the creation of the Dyneema Force Multiplier Technology have led the World Textile Information Network (or WTiN) to award the company with three awards:

  • Launch of the Year
  • Most Innovative Large Company
  • Best Innovation – Industrial Textiles

After a 30-month development period, the technology was released in 2013. And, since its introduction, it can be found in a significant number of officers’ vests. Along with its three awards, it was presented in award from the Safe America Foundation – 2014 WorldSafe Safety Product Innovation Award.

People who use vests with this technology understand why DSM has been given recognition with these awards.

What Is Force Multiplier Technology
Most people under what “force multiplication” means when it comes to law enforcement. – do more with less. This generally seen with budget talks and getting some type of gadget that gives officers important information while in the field.

Mixing the technology with ballistic protection may seem a little weird but it actually makes sense. This is especially true for Shitij Chabba, DSM Dyneema’s Global Business Segment director, who felt it was suitable. Chabba said the force multiplier is a factor that boosts an item’s effectiveness.

There are a number of complaints being made about body armor:

  • Discomfort
  • Hot
  • Bulky
  • Heavy

If officers were given a choice, they would not wear the vest. However, there are a number of solutions available to ease the issues.

3-In-1: Dyneema Begins Development On Technology To Use In Ballistic Protection
Chabba said the company began development to come up with a technology that allowed for light, comfortable body armor without giving up any ballistic protection.

Now, the type of thread design being used is going to affect the weight of plates and body armor. Determining how the thread is laid in production plays a huge part.

Chabba said the initial results had him tell the engineers to reshoot the pack because the numbers and performance levels were high. He said once done, they all agreed the product was going to be special. He said they saw the benefits and how it would help law enforcement on the street and make them comfortable on the job.

This was no easy feat with the present platform. Scientists with DSM Dyneema needed to come up with three innovations into one product. Researchers started with a new polymer. From it, they came up with “an ultra-strong” fiber. The company makes the claim that Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber. And, their goal was to make it even stronger.

They then arranged the fiber into a unidirectional UD sheet. Chabba said the scientists developed the UD in a way that provides officers with high protection, and ensuring them flexibility and comfort when wearing the protection.

Chabba compared UD to spaghetti – rather than it being noodles, it’s the company’s yarn. But, it’s not a disorganised mess, there are hundreds of thousands of yarn noodles spread flat, which then cross-laid with every fiber being perpendicular to one another. This process is what makes up the sheet.

The process in the platform comes up with a package that’s about 30 percent lighter than other solutions. And, DSM adds their own products to this list.

On their website is video that shows how flexible Force Multiplier Technology platform. While flexible may not be a good choice of words, it’s an obvious benefit to officers who want fit and comfort along with safety.

DSM also has ballistic testing to meet NIJ 3A standards with rounds for .357 Magnum JSP, .357 SIG FMJ FN, Winchester Ranger SXT, RCC frag testing , etc.

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Bullet-proof protection may be about to get more bullet proof. A team of researchers has created a new kind of nanofiber that can extend to seven times its original length—and is tougher than kevlar, too.

Scientists at UT Dallas have created a new kind of fiber which makes use of its electromechanical properties to absorb energy. While Kevlar can absorb up to 80 joules per gram before it breaks, the new material can handle up to 98 joules per gram. That could make it extremely useful in applications like military vehicles and body armor.

The team took inspiration from the piezoelectric action—where pressure is converted into electrical charges—observed in collagen fibers within human bone. The researchers recreated the collagan fibers by spinning polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polyvinvylidene fluoride trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE)—themselves piezoelectric materials—into nanofibers. They then twisted these strands into yarns.

When stretched, these polymer-based yarns create an electrical charge which acts to attracts the polymer strands back in on themselves—an attraction found to be 10 times stronger than a hydrogen bond. (Hydrogen bonds, by the way, are considered some of the strongest inter-molecular forces we know of.) The result is a material that can absorbs terrific amount of energy before it fails. The result are published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Currently, the nanofibers are very small, so the next step for the researchers is to work out how to produce and use the material in bulk. If they can, the armor of the future may be made from little more than simple twisted yarn—one that just happens to be ultra-tough.

DSM Greenville

The U.S. Army selected a new body armor system, the Generation II Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCS), to provide ballistic protection to soldiers operating in harm’s way. The SPCS, designed by Point Blank Enterprises, incorporates Dyneema Force Multiplier Technology to achieve proven ballistic protection and weight reduction up to 30 percent, creating the lightest soft armor system ever to be fielded to the U.S. Army.

DSM Dyneema manufactures ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber (Dyneema) using breakthroughs in polymer science and uni-directional engineering to achieve the protection of aramid products with less weight and enhanced wearer comfort and mobility. Dyneema is up to 15 times stronger than steel and up to 40 percent stronger than aramid fibers, on a weight-for-weight basis.

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In a lab at the University of Delaware, Norman Wagner, along with scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, are using ceramic nanoparticles to make a new type of body protector.

They treat soft body armor with shear-thickening fluid and end up with something that can stop a bullet, a knife or flying shrapnel.

Liquid Armor, the UD trademarked innovation, responds when it is hit or shaken and it’s light and flexible, said Wagner, the Alvin B. and Julia O. Stiles Professor of Chemical Engineering and chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering at UD. Wagner invented the shear thickening fluid technology in collaboration with Eric Wetzel, a scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

“For first responders, you get not only ballistic protection with Liquid Armor, but you also gain this additional stab and puncture protection,” Wagner said. “And the material can do all of this while increasing the vest’s wearability.”

He and his team are also working on a specialty application – a highly flexible and protective glove that could be worn by surgeons and other medical professionals to guard against cuts and needle sticks.

“Puncture is a real issue” in health care, he said.

And they are working with ILC Dover, the space suit manufacturer on other possible applications, Wagner said. Liquid Armor is applied to a flexible fiber. It uses tiny bits of silica and polymers that are suspended in sheer thickening fluid. The sheer thickening fluid hardens instantly when it is hit or shaken. Once the stress stops, the body armor returns to its flexible state.

Wagner is working with the University’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP), and with Barrday, a specialty textile manufacturer, to create new Liquid Armor products.

The specialized material gets stronger under pressure, Wagner said.