The aim of the challenge is to develop a technology for moulding Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) composite materials into complex geometry parts featuring double curvatures.
Sponsoring Department: National Research Council (NRC)
Funding Mechanism: Contract
Opening date: November 23, 2018
Closing date: January 14, 2019, 14:00 Eastern Standard Time
Please refer to the tender notice for this challenge on Buy and Sell
The NRC provides R&D services to the Canadian defense industry; it is conducting studies that will provide data to manufacture personal protection equipment (PPE), but is lacking tools that can apply uniform pressure on complex geometry parts featuring near-vertical walls, and for testing different material solutions. The newest generations of lightweight, high performance composites materials, developed for ballistic protection applications are made from UHMWPE. These materials are very difficult to mould, especially into small objects involving complex geometries featuring double curvatures (ex. a hemisphere). These materials also require extremely high moulding pressures, and a very tight and accurate temperature control.
This challenge seeks a modular tool for moulding small parts made with UHMWPE-based composite materials, such as a helmet shell for a soldier (which is almost spherical), allowing for a precise control of the manufacturing process over a wide spectrum of pressures and temperatures, which can be reconfigured at minimum cost to support the industry in the development of specific applications. The generic tool sought in this challenge used in conjunction with NRC's high tonnage press, would allow NRC to study UHMWPE molding conditions, including pressure and temperature.
Desired outcomes and Considerations
The desired outcome is the development of a generic tool/tooling platform capable of moulding, using the newest generation of ballistic protection UHMWPE-based composites, personal protection equipment about the size of, and similar in shape to a military helmet (e.g. ACH Gen 2), under various controlled conditions of pressure and temperature.
Proposed solutions must:
- Allow moulding at different pressure and temperature conditions.
- Temperature range: 25 Degrees Celcius to 150 degrees Celsius
- Pressure range: 0 to 12 000 psi (pound-per-square-inch)/0 to 83 MPa (Megapascal)
- Allow accurate temperature control over the entire surface of the tool (±2°C). Temperature must remain constant and uniform over the entire mould surface and during the entire moulding cycle.
- Allow to apply uniform pressure on the material up to 12 000 psi. Pressure must be uniform over the entire surface, with a maximum deviation of 10%, even on near-vertical walls.
- Be usable with a standard vertical compression moulding press.
- Allow moulding family of parts of different thicknesses (i.e. same geometry, but thickness varies). Thickness to vary between 5 and 15 mm.
- Withstand 500 moulding cycles before routine maintenance and overhaul is required.
- Be certified according to all relevant Canadian safety standards, such as CSA if any electrical system is included.
- Ideally, the pressure buildup should result mostly from closing a matched-die tool (i.e. die forced into a cavity), but the assistance of other pressurization means would be acceptable.
Background and Context
The NRC, through its Security Materials Technologies (SMT) program, has the mandate to support the Canadian Defense Industry and foster innovation.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) such as helmets or ballistic inserts used by the military or police corps represents major market opportunities for the Canadian defence industry. Since 2000, NRC has developed significant expertise in the fabrication of aramid-based composite helmets. In recent years though, high-end personal protection equipment is being made from the newest high performance UHMWPE-based composites. These new materials offer unmatched ballistic protection at extremely low weight but they are cardboard-like and difficult to work with. They also require extremely high moulding pressures, and a very tight and accurate temperature control. Manufacturing PPE components using these UHMWPE-based materials requires large tonnage presses and expensive metallic tools. The large initial capital investment needed for industry to adopt these new materials has been a major barrier.
NRC has conducted some studies with UHMWPE-based materials; however the high moulding pressure and accurate temperature control required by these new materials currently preclude NRC from working at the component or system level, i.e. what is most relevant for industry. A generic, modular tool, would thus allow NRC to conduct studies to develop new PPE solutions, offer industry a full development platform to test different concepts, optimize designs and fabricate prototypes.
The generic, modular tool, developed during the challenge will allow the applicant to gain highly sought-after expertise in designing tools for moulding the latest generation of UHMWPE-based composites into complex geometries. This will allow the applicant (and Canada) to become a worldwide leader in the moulding UHMWPE-based composites for personal protective equipment, but also in other areas such as vehicle armour and spacecraft protection.
Maximum value and travel
Maximum contract value:
Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.
The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.
The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $500,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 2 years. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.
This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.
For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:
Kick-off meeting: Montreal, Quebec
Final Review Meeting: Montreal, Quebec
All other communications should take place by telephone or videoconference.
Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:
- for profit
- incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
- 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
- research and development activities that take place in Canada
- 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
- 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
- 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *
Part 1: Mandatory and Minimum Pass Mark Criteria
Proposals must meet all mandatory criteria (Questions 1a and 2) and achieve the minimum pass mark for Question 3 in order to be deemed responsive and proceed to Part 2.
1 a. Scope
Describe your proposed solution and how it responds to the challenge. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which your solution is proposed and clearly identify how your solution meets all of the EssentialOutcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes and Considerations section in the Challenge Notice.
Mandatory - Pass/Fail
2. Current Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
Mandatory - Pass/Fail
Pass: The Applicant/Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution is currently between TRLs 1 and 4 (inclusive), and provided justification by explaining the research and development (R&D) that has taken place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.
Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the current TRL is between 1 to 4 (inclusive) including:
Describe the novelty of your solution and how it advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including competing solutions.
Point Rated with Minimum Pass Mark
The minimum pass mark for this criteria is 4 points.
0 points/Fail: The Applicant/Bidder has not demonstrated that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions; OR
The stated advancements are described in general terms but are not substantiated with specific, measurable evidence.
Part 2: Point-Rated Criteria
Proposals that do not achieve the overall minimum score of at least 55 points out of a possible 110 points (50%) will be declared non-responsive and given no further consideration.
The overall minimum score is determined by adding the Applicant/Bidder's scores from the following questions together (1b, 3, 4-13).
Describe how your proposed solution addresses the Additional Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes and Considerations section in the Challenge Notice.
If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, Bidders/Applicants will receive 10 points
4. Phase 1 Science and Technology Risks
Identify potential scientific and/or technological risks to the successful development of the proof of concept and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1?
5. Benefits to Canada
Describe the benefits that could result from the successful development of your solution. Applicants/Bidders should consider the potential benefits using the following three categories:
6. Phase 1 Project Plan
Demonstrate a feasible Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.
Note: Phase 1 cannot exceed 6 months and TRL 4.
7. Phase 1 Project Risks
Identify potential project risks (eg. Human resources, financial, project management, etc) to the successful development of the proof of concept and how they will be mitigated?
8. Phase 1 Implementation Team
Demonstrate how your project implementation team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the project plan for Phase 1 by completing the table. A member of the implementation team can have more than one role.
Include the labour rates and level of effort for each member. A day is defined as 7.5 hours of work, exclusive of meal breaks. The labour rates and level of effort will be reviewed as part of the evaluation for Question 10.
If your business were to receive funding from Innovative Solutions Canada, describe what actions (e.g., recruitment strategy, internships, co-op placements, etc.) might be taken in Phase 1 to support the participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, visible minorities) in the research and development of the proposed solution.
10. Phase 1 Financial Proposal
Demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.
11. Phase 1 Financial Controls, Tracking and Oversight
Describe the financial controls, tracking and oversight that will be used to manage the public funds throughout Phase 1.
12. Phase 2 Strategy
Describe a realistic strategy for the prototype development if selected to participate in Phase 2.
Responses should include:
13. Commercialization Approach
Describe your overall commercialization approach for the proposed solution.
Responses should include:
Questions and answers
Please refer to the tender notice for this challenge on Buy and Sell.
All incoming questions regarding a specific challenge will be posted here with the corresponding response.
If you have a question about a challenge, please send it to ISED-ISDE@canada.ca.
You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovative Solutions Canada Program.
A glossary is also available.