Mesa inventor looks to revolutionize body armor business

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Armor Works
Armor Works

Mesa inventor Kent Saucedo is working to develop a new way to make body armor that could revolutionize the field.

Saucedo — a high school dropout with more than a dozen existing federal patents and experience in the armor industry to his credit­ — said he recently met with Pentagon officials including the U.S. Special Operations Command about his work. He is developing a proprietary method to make body armor used by soldiers, police and security personnel. He said it could dramatically reduce the steps and time required to make armor.

The current process can take as long as 10 days and 30 steps to produce body armor and there have been some issues with existing products.

Everybody’s armor is delaminating. Everyone is having problems

Saucedo said. He said his process looks to eliminate large ovens used to help make body armor and some plates might be able to be produced in the field.

He declined to divulge more specific details about the innovations.

Saucedo, 53, is working with Darlene Trejo at Valkyrie Advanced Development Group on the innovation. Valkyrie qualifies as a woman-owned business with Trejo as its chief executive. That could also help Valkyrie grab future federal contracts.

The Mesa company is looking for angel investors, has filed new patent applications and is looking for U.S. military work. The company also has a research office in Colorado but hopes to have its manufacturing in the Valley. “Our whole goal is to keep it here,” Saucedo said.

Saucedo’s resume includes design and contract work with Chandler-based ArmorWorks. A number of his patents were during this tenure with armor manufacturer.

ArmorWorks founder and president Bill Perciballi said he would use Saucedo as a contractor again in the future. ArmorWorks has a number of military contracts. The company has 180 workers in the East Valley and 225 companywide.

Perciballi said federal austerity measures and now the shutdown is slowing down the Pentagon procurement pipeline. ArmorWorks has still won a couple of recent new Defense Department contracts, he said, but that the whole process is slower and less opportunities are arising for contractors.

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