Note: At the time of this success story, Impact Dakota was known as Dakota MEP.
Profile: DKX Advanced Manufacturing
DKX Advanced Manufacturing, a start-up company headquartered in Underwood, ND, provides armor suppliers with the finest and most innovative hard armor technology available.
Their hard armor inserts are made from DSM’s Dyneema®; the world’s strongest fiberTM. Their patent-pending advanced manufacturing process has finally made the best cost-effective choice for OEM customers.
Their mission statement read, "We are committed to driving the next generation of armor products, delivering product on time, and offering the best value in the industry."
Challenge: High Operating Costs and Low Output Capabilities
DKX Advanced Manufacturing requires high volume production tooling with a high degree of process control to be able to produce their body armor panels at prices that are attractive to their customers.
Solution Implemented: Lean Product Development
A new tooling concept was proposed that promised to put DKX Advanced Manufacturing in an extremely competitive position in the marketplace due to its high output and lower operating costs. DKX has distributors ready to purchase product produced at these low cost levels.
Proposed deliverables included:
- Complete design and creation of full 3D CAD models and full drawing package of high-volume tooling concept, heating and cooling calculations, and purchased part specifications.
- CNC programming for all tooling components
- Design and provide full drawing package for interface to custom hydraulic press and chiller
- CNC programming of press and chiller interface components
- Process dial-in and documentation with new tooling. Includes significant collaboration with the primary raw material supplier.
- Create process control specifications and documentation, with appropriate pressures, temperatures, dwell times, and material layering.
- Dyneema® cutting testing. Includes research and testing of various cutting methods and recommendations for a high volume automated solution.
- Initial tests of the samples that were made from existing material and delivered to a lab for tests.
Impact: Development of New Tooling Concepts to Increase Output and Lower Operating Costs
With Impact Dakota's assistance, DKX was able to design and develop a press to produce body armor. They were also able to test and prove their concepts and design to make sure that the process was robust; protecting the integrity of the materials used to produce the life-saving body armor.
They now have six employees and recently completed a large order to an armor reseller. They have additional orders pending and are in the process of obtaining certification with the National Institute of Justice. They are looking forward to continued growth and advancements in their processes, ultimately duplicating and increasing output, including plans for automation.