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Recycling Dyneema-based body armour

Dyneema UD unidirectional bullet resistant sheet is a key ballistic ingredient for best-in-class life protection applications vests, helmets and inserts.

20th November 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Stanley, NC


DSM Dyneema will provide an example of a creative way to re-use material from out-of-service soft armour vests at the forthcoming Milipol exhibition in Paris from November 21-24.

Dyneema UD unidirectional bullet resistant sheet is a key ballistic ingredient for best-in-class life protection applications vests, helmets and inserts for protecting soldiers and law enforcement officers.

Compared to alternative materials, Dyneema fibre offers the lowest carbon footprint per unit of tenacity. Since solutions with Dyneema UD require less material to achieve a given performance and have a high durability and long service live, a low carbon footprint in application lifetime can be achieved. Over the past few years, DSM Dyneema has further improved its environmental footprint in its manufacturing processes and is committed to continue the path.

The company is now also examining ways for body armour manufacturers and end-customers to reduce waste from end products made with Dyneema UD material. Waste material from ballistic sheets is generated in two ways. One is the off-cuts from the UD sheets when making the end-products like a vest and the other is when the protective article is taken out of service.

For the concept presented at Milipol, DSM Dyneema worked together with Marc Meijers, designer at DenimX. This resulted in prototype design table made with a combination of re-used Dyneema UD sheets and DenimX. DenimX has a process that converts used clothing, such as combat uniforms and textiles into thin sheets.

Making the table involved shredding the used ballistic soft armour panels and offcuts, then pressing the material into flat sheets. This material is then used as input into an alternative value chain.

“By breathing new life into used vests, we can support and encourage a circular economy,” says Dirk Louwers, global marketing director at DSM Life Protection. “By seeking ways to re-use ballistic protection materials in new applications, vest manufacturers and end-users such as the police or military may avoid having to dispose of offcut waste or used vests.”

“The table follows the re-using principle, using panels made of shredded Dyneema UD finished with blue or desert camouflage fabric,” says Marc Meijers of DenimX. “It’s a perfect illustration of the potential of turning used Dyneema UD into a new product, and will help inspire more designers to explore alternative ideas.”

Looking ahead, DSM Dyneema aims to build on the success of this finished prototype. The company is inviting interested parties to work with them in further develop opportunities to take re-use to the next level.

“Our first objective is to work with partners to achieve a scalable process, since the technical feasibility is proven,” says Louwers. “By involving partners and customers in this effort, we will discover new ways to breathe new life into Dyneema UD materials.”

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