16th January 2017
Although we’re more used to writing about automotive vehicles and aircraft on Enlighten, these of course aren’t the only industries where weight is an important design consideration. We were reminded of this today when Honeywell announced its new Centurion™ composite fabric designed to make law enforcement apparel and equipment 35 to 40 percent lighter.
Traditionally, law enforcement officers have carried extra gear such as ammunition and radios by attaching them to modular lightweight load-carrying equipment (MOLLE) web designs that include straps sewn onto their tactical vests. MOLLE straps add extra weight and can make movement more difficult for officers.
By contrast, Honeywell says that vests made with Centurion fabric are 35 to 40 percent lighter because they do not require extra fabric. Centurion is laser-cut according to user preference, resulting in slits along the vests from which officers can hang, hook or tie gear as needed. Because nothing needs to be sewn into these vests, they are lighter and more comfortable for officers to wear, as well as faster and easier for manufacturers to produce. Combined with Spectra fiber’s strength, Centurion-made vests are resistant to cuts, abrasion and water, making them suitable for many tough environments.
“Centurion represents the next evolution of lightweight law enforcement equipment, removing several pounds from the more than 20 pounds that an officer can typically wear while on patrol,” said Lori Wagner, armor marketing manager for Honeywell Packaging and Composites. “At the core of Centurion fabric’s remarkable properties is Spectra, Honeywell’s next-generation fiber that is the material of choice for law enforcement agencies around the world as well as the U.S. military. Honeywell’s armor technology not only provides life-saving materials, but also produces industry-leading, high-performance, lightweight fabric like Centurion, designed to help those who protect us.”
Spectra fiber is made from ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene using a patented gel-spinning process. Pound for pound, Spectra is 15 times stronger than steel, yet light enough to float. It has up to 60 percent greater strength than alternate aramid fiber. Spectra fiber is used to create Spectra Shield®, an advanced ballistic-resistant material. Honeywell’s Shield technology is a patented Honeywell process designed to optimize the ballistic performance characteristics of Spectra as well as aramid fiber in Gold Shield® materials.