Focusing on commercializing a lighter, cheaper, plastics-based armor, a new company, Armor Dynamics Inc., plans to build a 58,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that could employ hundreds in the Kingston, N.Y., region.
The firm has connections to Usheco Inc., a small injection molder and thermoformer in Kingston, where prototypes are being fabricated and tested. Armor officials expect to outgrow that space soon.
Armor is making products from a material called Magmacore, developed by Bernie Schaeffer, Usheco chief executive officer. His son Wayne, is president of Usheco and a managing director at Armor.
``We developed a building panel [that] disperses [a] load over a large area,'' said Bernie Schaeffer.
Magmacore is used to make a sheet that gains structural strength from a simple egg-carton design. He said the panel was developed from a patent that R. Buckminster Fuller had developed for steel trusses.
The armor plan was unveiled April 3, when New York Gov. George Pataki announced that the company plans to invest $20 million in a facility that could create 570 jobs in the next five years.
Pataki said in a news release that once Armor Dynamics commits to the plan, it will be eligible for a $1.25 million grant for machinery. Also, the state Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research awarded $522,800 to Armor and the State University of New York at Geneseo to work on ways to commercialize a ballistic panel.
Armor Dynamics is still in its formative stages, but its managing directors include people with security, military, manufacturing, product development and financial management skills. In addition to Schaeffer, they include David Warren, a mechanical engineer with security and military experience; Richard and Jim Chandler of privately owned Chandler Security Systems of Norwalk, Conn.; David Gagnon, a certified public accountant; and James Rancourt, a security and product development specialist.
Schaeffer said four products are being tested by various city, state and military authorities. The first is a trash can that can absorb the blast of some explosives.
Another product is a sheet that could be stored in a police car and used in a shootout or bomb situation. The firm also is looking at blocks - measuring 6 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches - that could be loaded with sand to make bunkers. Another product is the ballistic panel for protecting vehicles such as Humvees.
Amcor will proceed as demand warrants. ``There's no timetable yet. It all depends on the orders,'' said Wayne Schaeffer.